HaMoked criticizes GOC Southern Command's bizarre announcement regarding the cancellation of the requirement that Gazans who wish to appeal the denial of their requests to enter Israel provide their personal telephone numbers as a condition for processing the appeals. This requirement had been cancelled, but the GOC Southern Command now claims the cancellation was a mistake: HaMoked claims that this announcement is nothing more than a feeble excuse for renewing the outrageous and unreasonable demand and to renege on past obligations המוקד להגנת הפרט
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24.06.2007
HaMoked criticizes GOC Southern Command's bizarre announcement regarding the cancellation of the requirement that Gazans who wish to appeal the denial of their requests to enter Israel provide their personal telephone numbers as a condition for processing the appeals. This requirement had been cancelled, but the GOC Southern Command now claims the cancellation was a mistake: HaMoked claims that this announcement is nothing more than a feeble excuse for renewing the outrageous and unreasonable demand and to renege on past obligations
HaMoked criticizes GOC Southern Command's bizarre announcement regarding the cancellation of the requirement that Gazans who wish to appeal the denial of their requests to enter Israel provide their personal telephone numbers as a condition for processing the appeals. This requirement had been cancelled, but the GOC Southern Command now claims the cancellation was a mistake: HaMoked claims that this announcement is nothing more than a feeble excuse for renewing the outrageous and unreasonable demand and to renege on past obligations

The letter dated 3 June 2007, is a continuation of an affair which started some six months ago, when HaMoked – Center for the Defence of the Individual issued a letter to the Prime Minister's office in which it demanded the cancellation of a directive issued by the District Coordination Office (DCO) in Gaza. According to the directive, processing of requests forwarded by human rights organizations on behalf of Palestinians is conditional upon provision of those Palestinians' personal phone numbers. HaMoked claimed that the directive is arbitrary, particularly considering the fact that the Gaza DCO refuses to have direct communications with Palestinians and notify them, by way of example, of the answers to their requests. HaMoked also claimed that the directive contradicts the basic precepts of Israeli administrative law and constitutes badgering and an unjustified infringement on the residents' privacy. Therefore, HaMoked demanded the directive be withdrawn and requested information regarding who gave it and what the motivations behind it were. 

In a letter of response dated 19 February 2007, the military noted that the directive to provide the personal telephone numbers of those submitting requests to the Gaza DCO was given following a demand put forward by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA). The numbers were needed for the ISA's "operative needs". The military claimed that the order did not infringe on the privacy of Palestinians who turn to the DCO and was indeed approved by the legal advisor. Nevertheless, the military added that the order would no longer apply to Palestinians who turn to the Gaza DCO through human rights organizations, such as HaMoked. If need be, the military representatives noted, the numbers will be obtained once the Palestinians cross the Erez checkpoint. 

However, on 7 May 2007, HaMoked received a letter which states that the abovementioned announcement had been accidentally sent to HaMoked and that it was only an "internal position which was disseminated as part of staff work" and that "the sending of the letter was not coordinated with the relevant elements". 

The excuse that the letter was accidentally sent to HaMoked is bewildering. It seems that the army is merely attempting to renege on its previous commitment: the letter regarding the cancellation of the requirement clearly stated that all relevant elements had cleared the cancellation: "following the Coordinator's directive, the call center no longer demands phone numbers as a condition, in accordance with the directives of the head of the DCO and the clarification of the matter with the ISA". Moreover, for three months, DCO officials indeed stopped demanding phone numbers. If so, how can one claim the letter was sent accidentally when what was said in it was actually implemented on the ground?! 

Considering the military's outrageous behavior, HaMoked demands the new directive be withdrawn and information be provided regarding who gave it and what purpose it serves. HaMoked also demands to know why the telephone numbers are needed, what is done with them and where they are kept. 

It must be noted that on 19 June 2007, six months after the initial letter was sent to the Prime Minister's office, HaMoked received a letter from the office, stating that phone numbers are indeed required upon submission of a request at the Erez DCO, in order, so it was claimed, to effectively screen the applicants.  

To view the letter from the Prime Minister's Office dated 14 June 2007 (in Hebrew) 

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The letter dated 3 June 2007, is a continuation of an affair which started some six months ago, when HaMoked – Center for the Defence of the Individual issued a letter to the Prime Minister's office in which it demanded the cancellation of a directive issued by the District Coordination Office (DCO) in Gaza. According to the directive, processing of requests forwarded by human rights organizations on behalf of Palestinians is conditional upon provision of those Palestinians' personal phone numbers. HaMoked claimed that the directive is arbitrary, particularly considering the fact that the Gaza DCO refuses to have direct communications with Palestinians and notify them, by way of example, of the answers to their requests. HaMoked also claimed that the directive contradicts the basic precepts of Israeli administrative law and constitutes badgering and an unjustified infringement on the residents' privacy. Therefore, HaMoked demanded the directive be withdrawn and requested information regarding who gave it and what the motivations behind it were. 

In a letter of response dated 19 February 2007, the military noted that the directive to provide the personal telephone numbers of those submitting requests to the Gaza DCO was given following a demand put forward by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA). The numbers were needed for the ISA's "operative needs". The military claimed that the order did not infringe on the privacy of Palestinians who turn to the DCO and was indeed approved by the legal advisor. Nevertheless, the military added that the order would no longer apply to Palestinians who turn to the Gaza DCO through human rights organizations, such as HaMoked. If need be, the military representatives noted, the numbers will be obtained once the Palestinians cross the Erez checkpoint. 

However, on 7 May 2007, HaMoked received a letter which states that the abovementioned announcement had been accidentally sent to HaMoked and that it was only an "internal position which was disseminated as part of staff work" and that "the sending of the letter was not coordinated with the relevant elements". 

The excuse that the letter was accidentally sent to HaMoked is bewildering. It seems that the army is merely attempting to renege on its previous commitment: the letter regarding the cancellation of the requirement clearly stated that all relevant elements had cleared the cancellation: "following the Coordinator's directive, the call center no longer demands phone numbers as a condition, in accordance with the directives of the head of the DCO and the clarification of the matter with the ISA". Moreover, for three months, DCO officials indeed stopped demanding phone numbers. If so, how can one claim the letter was sent accidentally when what was said in it was actually implemented on the ground?! 

Considering the military's outrageous behavior, HaMoked demands the new directive be withdrawn and information be provided regarding who gave it and what purpose it serves. HaMoked also demands to know why the telephone numbers are needed, what is done with them and where they are kept. 

It must be noted that on 19 June 2007, six months after the initial letter was sent to the Prime Minister's office, HaMoked received a letter from the office, stating that phone numbers are indeed required upon submission of a request at the Erez DCO, in order, so it was claimed, to effectively screen the applicants.  

To view the letter from the Prime Minister's Office dated 14 June 2007 (in Hebrew) 

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