HaMoked deleted its petition to allow B'Tselem's field researchers to enter the Gaza Strip: The court rejected the petitioners' claims that many Israelis enter Gaza, and the military's refusal to permit the entry appears to be an attempt to hinder the work of human rights organizations in Israel המוקד להגנת הפרט
29.07.2009
HaMoked deleted its petition to allow B'Tselem's field researchers to enter the Gaza Strip: The court rejected the petitioners' claims that many Israelis enter Gaza, and the military's refusal to permit the entry appears to be an attempt to hinder the work of human rights organizations in Israel
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The petition was submitted on 26 February 2009, after all of HaMoked's requests to allow the entry of B'Tselem's field researchers went unanswered. The field researchers requested to enter Gaza in order to document and investigate the humanitarian situation and the state of human rights following the war.

In the petition, HaMoked claimed, inter alia, that the realization of human rights - the protection of which is one of the foundations of a democratic regime - depends on the existence of a number of social safety nets, chiefly, the judicial system whose role is to protect these rights and prevent their violation. The task of defending human rights is fulfilled by active, efficient and effective human rights organizations. Thus, the entry of workers on behalf of B'Tselem, an organization whose activity centers on the gathering, examination and dissemination of information, is vital to ensuring the right of the public – in Israel and abroad – to know of the reality in the Gaza Strip following the war, and the state of human rights there. The State's conduct vis a vis the request to allow the entry of B'Tselem's workers to Gaza, raises a suspicion that this is an attempt to hinder the work of human rights organizations and disrupt their activity.

The military requested that the court reject the petition due to "evident security considerations" This, as by law and according to the Implementation of the Disengagement Plan Order, the entry of Israelis to Gaza is prohibited except by force of a permit issued by the army. In light of the grave security situation which has ensued in Gaza following the war, there is a danger to the petitioners' lives and to the lives of the soldiers and civilians who work at the border crossings through which the petitioners wish to enter.

On 15 July 2009 a hearing was held regarding the petition. HaMoked claimed that the refusal to allow the entry of B'Tselem's workers to the Gaza Strip due to a concern for their wellbeing is absurd and outrageous, since the employees, who monitor the wellbeing and the humanitarian condition of a million and a half Gaza residents, are familiar with Gaza and are in constant communication with individuals who reside there. Moreover, six months after the war, the military is allowing Israeli civilians to enter the Gaza Strip every day for various purposes – visits to sick relatives, family visitations and other humanitarian causes. The image which the military is attempting to portray – that the Erez Crossing is closed except in very exceptional cases – is false. Every day, Israeli residents and civilians are allowed to pass through the crossing, so long as there is no security preclusion in their cases. Therefore, it is not clear why the military is prohibiting the entry of human rights workers who wish to document the humanitarian situation.

The Court preferred to reject the petitioners' claims instead of confronting them, and recommended that HaMoked delete the petition without prejudice and with the option of petitioning again in the future, if and when this becomes possible.

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