Bissan’s father joined a Concordia professor and CSU official to discuss her circumstances and next steps
Concordia University held a press conference to discuss the circumstances and future of Bissan Eid, a pregnant Concordia student who has been stuck in Gaza for four months awaiting Israeli permission to leave, on Thursday, April 13.
The press conference, which was moderated by journalist Stefan Christoff, featured speakers Rami Yahia, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) internal affairs coordinator, Norma Rantisi, a professor in Concordia’s geography department and Hadi Eid, Bissan’s father. The three speakers made statements regarding Bissan’s circumstances, and laid out their plan of action.
According to Hadi, his 24-year-old daughter went to Gaza, where she was born, in June 2016 to visit family and get married. Under Israeli law, all citizens must obtain an exit permit from the Israeli government in order to leave, regardless of citizenship. Hadi said his daughter, who has been a Canadian citizen since 2005, first applied for the permit four months ago, but has yet to be approved. He claimed she has not been informed as to why she is being denied the permit.
Bissan is working towards her master’s degree in civil engineering, and is currently eight months pregnant. Hadi said Bissan wants to return to Canada before her due date in May, both to ensure she is surrounded by her loved ones and that she has the best possible medical care.
However, since she is in her third trimester, there is a high probability airlines will not allow her to fly for health reasons. Yet, Hadi said, if Bissan is given an exit permit, she will at least be able to give birth in Jordan, where he claims the medical care is better than in Gaza.
“Doctors have said that it is a difficult pregnancy,” Eid said. “If airlines deny her, that’s one thing … but we would prefer for her be in Canada to give birth.”
Efforts to bring Bissan home include a petition calling for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene in the situation, and a social media campaign using the hashtag #BringBissanHome intended to raise public awareness about Bissan’s situation and put pressure on the Canadian government to act.
The CSU has posted on their website a list of ways Concordia students can help support Bissan. The list includes a link to the Change.org petition to be sent to Justin Trudeau, a letter template students can use to mail to their provincial and federal MPs, and Concordia President Alan Shepard’s contact information which can be used to implore him to play an active role in calling for the government to help Bissan. The CSU has also asked students to share Bissan’s story on social media to increase awareness and support.