On 21 September 2005, HaMoked: Center for Defence of the Individual appealed in an urgent letter to the HCJ department of the State Attorney's Office, regarding the reinstatement of basic services for the civilian population of the Gaza Strip following the withdrawal. A previous, urgent letter in this regard was not answered. It must be noted, that even though the disengagement plan was finalized over six months ago, the withdrawal was not accompanied by well-organized plans which would guarantee normalcy for the Palestinian civilian population.
HaMoked details a series of problems created as a result of the army's withdrawal from Gaza, and its’ sealing off:
· Exiting the Strip to travel abroad:
Following the evacuation of the Strip, the Rafah Crossing was hermetically sealed, at Israel's demand, but Israel had not pre-arranged any solution for the interim period, which would enable Palestinians to exit the Strip and travel abroad, if only in urgent humanitarian cases.
· Entry into Israel for the purpose of travelling to the West Bank: Israel has announced that henceforth, Palestinians wishing to challenge a denial of their request to travel from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank may contact the army exclusively through the “objections committee” which consists of Palestinian delegates. The identity of the organ which is to see to this matter on Israel’s behalf remains unknown. This arrangement is nothing more than an attempt to disrupt the ability of human rights organizations to represent Palestinians in their dealings with the army and it violates the right of persons whose requests had been denied for legal counsel of their choice.
· The anticipated arrangement for entry into Israel:
Following Israel's announcement of the end of military rule in the Gaza Strip, authorities relating to Gaza, including those concerning passage to the West Bank, are to transfer to the Minister of the Interior. HaMoked insists that in all matters concerning entry into Israel for the purpose of passage to the West Bank, the power must be delegated to the GOC Central Command, since the authority to prevent passage from Gaza to the West Bank may only rely on security-related considerations, and not on the considerations that usually characterize the Interior Ministry's decisions. The process of granting permits for passage between Gaza and the West Bank must be conducted in accordance with Israel's obligations under international law only.
· Entry of Israelis into the Gaza Strip:
HaMoked has learned that Israeli residents, who are living with their spouses and children in Gaza, are being instructed to return to Israel, and told that, once they leave, they would not be able to return to Gaza. This policy wholly contradicts the "divided families procedure", which has for many years enabled spouses' entry to and exit from the Gaza Strip. This procedure was fortified by the military's undertaking before the HCJ. HaMoked demands that an urgent solution be found to this problem, as well as to the issues of family visitations from Israel to Gaza, and family visits during holidays, which were the norm up until now.
Therefore, HaMoked demands to know what Israel intends to do in order to bring civilians' lives back to normal immediately. Up until now, Israel has not suggested any reasonable interim solution until the new normative situation becomes clear. This delay causes severe and unnecessary harm to the civilian Palestinian population of Gaza.
On 22 September 2005, the State Attorney's Office submitted its response to the problems HaMoked had raised in its letters. The response claims that, within the framework of the army's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the need to provide a solution for the civilian population of Gaza was considered. However, according to the response, the State is only now undertaking the necessary preparatory work in order to settle the issues of entry into and exit from the Gaza Strip after Israel's disengagement. The State claims that presently, temporary arrangements are in place to provide solutions to problems arising in the interim period; but when the State is asked to address the specific claims raised by HaMoked, it becomes clear that many of these problems have not been solved, not even temporarily.