June 8, 2017 4:18 pm
Updated: June 9, 2017 10:41 am

Letter-writing campaign for Montrealer Bissan Eid still stuck in Gaza

A support rally gathered in Montreal Thursday to begin a letter-writing campaign that aims to help bring home Bissan Eid, a Canadian-Palestinian citizen and Concordia University student, stuck in Gaza since June 2016.

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A crowd of dozens gathered on Thursday to begin a letter-writing campaign in an effort to help bring home Bissan Eid, a 24-year-old Concordia University student, stuck in Gaza since June 2016.

The Palestinian-Canadian dual citizen went to Gaza last summer to visit her grandparents and to get married while she was five months pregnant.

She did not expect it would be so difficult to come back home.

And now, a year later, she has a baby daughter to further complicate matters.

In December she tried to return to Canada to continue her graduate studies in civil engineering at Concordia University.

“When she tried to come back here, she could not get exit permission to leave Gaza,” her father, Hedi Eid said at the rally.

It typically takes just a few weeks to receive the permit, but she has been waiting about a year now.

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Not only has there been a slow processing of her exit visa, the Israeli and Jordanian authorities have refused to process her exit using her Canadian passport, said the Concordia Student Union in a written statement.

According to her father, she started to contact the Canadian government through representative offices back in January, but they still have no answers.

“They just promised her and nothing happened,” he said.

He says that now they are waiting for a Canadian passport for her newborn child, but even though they were told that would take about 10 days, it has already been two weeks.

As a dual citizen, she is unable to get through Israel to reach Jordan, and the Canadian government has not been able to help her, according to her father.

Going through Egypt would be another option, but they have closed their borders, allowing visitors just a couple days per month.

And because of this, there is a huge waiting list, Eid’s father told Global News.

“A Canadian citizen doesn’t need a visa to go to Israel, to go to Jordan,” he said.

“So why does the Israeli government need a visa? Why didn’t the Israeli government recognize the Canadian passport?”

Brittany Venhola-Fletcher, media spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, told Global News they are aware of  Eid’s case.

“Consular officials are in contact with Ms. Eid and continue to provide her with consular assistance, including updated information on avenues to explore to leave the region.”

Fletcher said no further details would be released, citing privacy concerns.

She admitted however that the government’s ability to provide consular services to Canadians in the Gaza Strip is limited.

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

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