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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Israel sends Palestinian girl arrested in Jerusalem to Gaza — where she'd 'never been before'

The father of the 14-year-old girl is originally from Gaza but the teenager herself is from the West Bank village of a-Ram, just a few kilometres north of Jerusalem

Ghada was taken to the Erez border crossing into Gaza, seen here from the Palestinian side / AFP
Ghada was taken to the Erez border crossing into Gaza, seen here from the Palestinian side / AFP

A Palestinian teenager arrested in Jerusalem by Israel was sent to Gaza despite never having been there in her life, an Israeli rights group has said.

According to HaMoked, the 14-year-old girl, named only as Ghada, was arrested in Jerusalem on January 13 without a permit while visiting the Israeli-controlled city from the West Bank.

Ghada's father is originally from Gaza but the teenager herself is from the village of Al Ram, just a few kilometres north of Jerusalem.

HaMoked said on Wednesday that the girl was told she would be dropped off at a checkpoint near her home but on her release on January 16 was instead taken to the Erez crossing into Gaza.

Abir Joubran-Dakwar, HaMoked's lawyer dealing with the case, said they had not yet received a response from Israel about when she could return.

She said Ghada had never been in Gaza before and did not know anyone there, though she was now staying with members of her extended family.

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"No one told her anything — they told her they would send her to Qalandia (a checkpoint near her home) but they sent her to Erez."

She said Ghada has epilepsy and was concerned the stress could affect her condition.

A spokesman for the Israel prison service said they were examining the case, but stressed that — according to official records — the girl was a Gaza resident.

Twenty-seven Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank were forcibly sent to Gaza last year, according to military data gathered by HaMoked.

Ms Joubran-Dakwar said it was the first time she had heard of someone as young as 14 being sent there.

Israel has maintained a blockade on Gaza for more than a decade, which it says is necessary to isolate the enclave's rulers, Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars.

It is extremely difficult for Palestinians from the West Bank to obtain Israeli permission to visit the strip.

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