April 13, 2017 6:23 pm
Updated: April 14, 2017 9:24 am

Pregnant Montrealer trapped overseas after visiting family in Gaza

WATCH: A pregnant Concordia University Master’s student, who returned to Gaza in June 2016 to get married and visit her grandparents, says she isn’t able to leave because Israeli authorities won’t approve her exit visa. Global's Gloria Henriquez reports.


A pregnant Canadian woman is trapped in Palestine’s Gaza Strip and wants nothing more than to return home.

For the past four months, Bissan Eid has been trying to leave the region but can’t get the permit she needs to travel back to Canada.

Eid left Montreal last summer to get married and visit her grandparents, but never thought she wouldn’t be able to come back home.

“I thought since I’m Canadian, it’s gonna be easier for me to leave Gaza and come [to Canada] — unfortunately that didn’t happen,” Eid told Global News via Skype.

To leave the Gaza Strip, she needs an exit permit from Israel.

It typically takes a few weeks to receive the permit, but Bissan says she’s been waiting for four months now.

“We have absolutely no problem; we’re not supposed to have any delay,” she said.

What’s more, Bissan is eight months into a high-risk pregnancy.

Her family says the delay has become a matter of life and death.

“We have a lot of women who die during giving birth in Gaza,” Bissan’s father, Hadi Eid, said.

Israel has six border crossings with Gaza. To get through those, travellers require the special permit.

The crossing to Egypt opens very rarely, and the trip is too dangerous for a pregnant woman.

“I’m scared, to be honest,” Eid said.

It’s why her father is pleading with the Canadian government to intervene.

“I ask the government to help us to let Bissan come back to Canada as soon as possible,” Hadi Eid said at a press conference at Concordia University, where Bissan studies.

Bissan earned a Civil Engineering degree at Concordia and is working towards her master’s.

“It’s really a travesty that she’s not permitted to leave — one of our own Concordia students,” said Concordia professor Norma Randisi.

“The time to act is now.”

Eid’s family and supporters at Concordia have also launched a social media campaign to bring attention to the situation.

The Israeli Consulate in Montreal told Global News they are looking into the issue.

In a statement to Global News, Global Affairs Canada says they are “aware of reports that a Canadian citizen is seeking assistance to depart Gaza.”

They added consular officials “stand ready to assist and provide updated information on how to leave the region.”

However, the department’s statement did not specifically indicate if they were assisting Eid.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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