The High Court of Justice on Tuesday rejected a petition by a group of Palestinian students from Gaza against Israel's policy of barring students from the Gaza Strip from studying in the West Bank, even when there is no evidence that they pose a security threat to the state.

The decision was made by a panel of judges chaired by Justice Elyakim Rubinstein.

The petition was submitted in 2005 by a group of occupational therapy students from Gaza who had enrolled at Bethlehem University because the university of Gaza did not have an occupational therapy program.

The Israel Defense Forces and the state claim that the students belong to a 'risk group,' and that the decision to collectively bar them from studying in the West Bank is part of the broader government policy regarding the Palestinian Authority since Hamas' ascension to power in Gaza. The students had asked that the army review their requests individually, and then decide if they pose a security risk.

In the verdict, Justice Rubinstein recognized the need for the formation of a bureaucratic mechanism that would view such cases on an individual basis. But he stipulated that "the bottom line is that situation between Israel and Gaza has deteriorated to an all time low, and issuing a court order that sets aside would not fit in with the present dire reality.