Family of Palestinian Girl Wounded in Gaza Can Stay in Israel, Court Rules

Three members of Aman family died from air force fire aimed at Islamic Jihad operative in Gaza.

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Palestinian men inspect destruction in Gaza City on August 6, 2014 while Israeli and Palestinian delegations meet for truce talks in Cairo. Credit: AFP

A Palestinian girl from Gaza who was seriously injured by an Israel Air Force attack on an Islamic Jihad operative, and her father and brother, can remain in Israel for two more years with temporary resident status and then apply to the Interior Minister for permanent resident status, the High Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday.

Mariya Aman and her father petitioned the court against the defense and interior ministers. At the start of the hearing, Justices Miriam Naor, Noam Sohlberg and Yoram Danziger were critical of the family’s representatives, saying there was no cause for a hearing since the state had already granted approval for residency status for two more years: “Sometimes, one has to say enough is enough There is already a permit for temporary residency, we do not see the cause for a hearing to compel a permit for permanent residency I propose that you consult with your clients We have read the very touching story, but there is still a limit,” said Naor.

Sohlberg commended the state for meeting its commitments and providing medical treatment and social services to the girl, and promising to renew her residency status every two years. But attorneys Adi Lustigman and Amir Shemer argued that the temporary status creates a difficult situation for the family, and therefore requested that they be granted permanent residency.

In May 2006, three and a half-year-old Mariya suffered serious shrapnel wounds to the head that left her almost completely paralyzed. She and her family were injured when the IAF fired missiles at the vehicle of Islamic Jihad operative Mohammed Dahdouh in Gaza, and struck the car that the Aman family had purchased just hours earlier. In addition to Dahdouh, three members of the Aman family were killed – grandmother Hanan, mother Naima and Mariya’s seven-year-old brother Muhand. Mariya and her uncle were brought to Israel for medical treatment.

When Physicians for Human Rights – Israel informed then-Defense Minister Amir Peretz that the money transferred by the Palestinian Authority to pay for the girl’s treatment was about to run out, and that the Israeli authorities were preparing to send her back to Gaza, Peretz ordered that the state provide funding for the girl’s medical care “for humanitarian reasons.”

Since 2011, Mariya, now 13, has been living with her father Hamdi and her brother Muaman, 11, in Umm al-Fahm, and the family is planning to move to Jerusalem soon. Mariya’s father devotes all his time to caring for his children. The move to Umm al-Fahm came about following a legal proceeding: The family sought to live in the community rather than continue to stay at the Alyn hospital in Jerusalem where Mariya underwent rehabilitation.

Attorney Lustigman said that Wednesday’s ruling was a good one considering the circumstances, and that she hopes that in two years, the family will obtain permanent residency status.

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