A letter concerning Bissan Eid, a Canadian citizen denied exit permit from Gaza with her newborn daughter
June 1, 2017
I urge Concordia University, the Canadian legal community, and the Canadian government to aid Bissan Eid, a twenty-four-year old Canadian citizen and a Concordia M.A. student in Civil Engineering, confined in Gaza by Israeli government since June 2016, now together with her newborn daughter Sarah.
Precious time has been lost already. After Israeli government denied her a permit to exit Gaza, Bissan was forced to give birth in the Palestinian territory, where Israeli and Egyptian blockade created dire medical conditions. Local hospitals struggle to help patients amid frequent power outages, often without necessary equipment or medicine.
By creating red tape when dire emergency calls for expediency, the Canadian representative office in Ramallah is discriminating against Bissan. The office demanded that Bissan obtain a permit to enter Jordan for herself and her daughter. However, by law Canadian citizens do not need a permit. Bissan was granted Canadian citizenship in 2005.
Even worse, Canadian officials are also discriminating against the newborn Sarah, by forcing Bissan to obtain a Palestinian passport for her daughter. The passport is necessary to get a permit to enter Jordan for the child. Yet Palestinian citizenship will make Sarah vulnerable to the arbitrary power of Israeli government.
Today, June 1, is International Children’s Day, and I can only imagine Bissan’s despair at not being able to ensure her daughter’s health and security. Sarah is now three weeks old. Both mother and daughter deserve to be reunited with their family in Canada.
Concordia University, Montreal