Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Controversial Gaza travel rules to be reviewed

Hamas says provisions regarding single women have been 'misunderstood as a total travel ban'.

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Hamas Islamists who control the Gaza Strip said Wednesday judicial authorities would review a controversial edict giving parents and guardians power to block adult children or dependants from travelling.

The ruling, circulated Sunday from the Supreme Sharia (Islamic law) Council in Gaza, allows “males over the age of 18 to be banned from travelling by court order, based on the wishes of the father or grandfather”.

It also bans “virgin, widowed or divorced women from travelling without permission from a guardian”.

On Wednesday, Hamas said it was “happy” the shariah council had decided to rephrase the edict “to avoid confusion”.

It said provisions regarding single women had “been misunderstood as a total travel ban” and will be “amended”.

Israel has maintained a tight blockade on Gaza since Hamas took power in the enclave in 2007, while Egypt restricts movement through the Rafah crossing that connects it to the strip.

The edict was widely condemned by rights groups and diplomats.

“It’s bad enough that Israeli and Egyptian policies have trapped Palestinians in Gaza for far too many years,” Human Rights Watch said.

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