When 'Justice' Is an Orwellian Term

Your honors of the High Court of Justice, what 'security reasons' could have made you forbid a father, Palestinian as he may be, to go to his baby son’s funeral?

Kobi Niv
Kobi Niv
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The Supreme Court. Credit: Amit Shabi
Kobi Niv
Kobi Niv

Three judges of the High Court of Justice in the only democratic Jewish state in the world last week denied the petition of one Bakr Hafi, a Palestinian from Gaza, to go to the funeral of his baby son in Tul Karm. Why? “For security reasons.” This is what the three justices, president Asher Grunis and his esteemed colleagues Elyakim Rubinstein and Zvi Zylbertal, said. Security reasons and that’s it. But what “security reasons” in the world could make three justices of a court calling itself “the High Court of Justice” prevent a father from attending his baby son’s funeral?

Hafi has never been put on trial for a “security offense” – not even a tiny one like throwing a stone or setting fire to garbage. All his crimes amount to almost nothing.

In 1999 he moved to the West Bank, but as of 2000, the following year, Israel does not allow people registered as Gazan residents to stay or live in the West Bank. So Hafi was expelled in 2004 to the Gaza Strip. Despite this he returned to the West Bank and even married and raised two daughters in Tul Karm. Later Hafi was expelled to Gaza again. In between he was arrested and convicted of car theft and served a jail sentence.

In 2009 he was arrested and questioned over “security offenses” by the Shin Bet security service, but ultimately he was not indicted, though he was expelled to Gaza again.

Since then he has not been permitted to go to the West Bank to see his daughters and wife, who traveled to Gaza via Egypt to visit him. In 2013 the couple had a son. Shortly afterward they found the baby was suffering from an incurable genetic disease. Although Hafi petitioned the High Court of Justice in February and November of this year to allow him to visit his dying son, his petition was denied. Finally, last week, the infant died, without his father ever seeing him.

The bereaved Hafi again asked the High Court of Justice to let him go to his son’s funeral. But the three justices sitting in court denied his petition “for security reasons,” which were probably whispered in their ear by some hush hush “security official” and not disclosed to anyone else.

If the the “High Court of Justice” in one of the gentiles’ countries had prevented a Jewish father from attending his infant son’s funeral for secret “security reasons,” you yourselves, esteemed justices, would have raised your voice, and rightly so, in a bitter cry. Because, your honors Grunis, Rubinstein and Zylbertal, what “security reasons” could have made you forbid a father, Palestinian as he may be, to go to his baby son’s funeral? Where’s the danger? What could already happen? That he’d hide venom that kills Jews in his teeth and spit it in a well in Netanya on the way to Tul Karm? That he’d pass instructions via winks and blinks to terrorists hiding in the hole dug for his son? What?

Israel has proven methods to deal with these and any other dangers, including cose-in guards, cuffs, sunglasses and whatever else one can think of to put on the poor father’s hands and eyes. So why don’t you order them to be used?

Why and in whose name and in what’s name do you dare forbid a father to go to his baby son’s funeral? Who gave, who could have given you the authority to do that? Who do you think you are, God?!