Following HaMoked's petition, the head of the civil administration instructed the DCOs: OPT residents must be allowed to submit requests in Hebrew, Arabic, or English, as they wish המוקד להגנת הפרט عر HE wheel chair icon
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03.03.2011
Following HaMoked's petition, the head of the civil administration instructed the DCOs: OPT residents must be allowed to submit requests in Hebrew, Arabic, or English, as they wish
Following HaMoked's petition, the head of the civil administration instructed the DCOs: OPT residents must be allowed to submit requests in Hebrew, Arabic, or English, as they wish
On January 4, 2011, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice to instruct the military to permit residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) to submit to the District Coordination Offices (DCOs) requests in Arabic. HaMoked asserted that the refusal to handle requests and documents in Arabic was illegal and antithetical to the obligations of the military commander and the civil administration in the OPT under both Israeli law and international humanitarian and human rights law.  

The petition was filed following a letter from the head of the civil administration in the West Bank to HaMoked – concerning the civil administration's refusal to process a Palestinian woman's request to travel abroad – which notified that under a new policy introduced by security officials, Palestinians were now required to fill out request forms in Hebrew only, otherwise, their requests would not be processed.

In its response to the petition, the State Attorney's Office claimed that it had been an isolated error, and that "the petitioners were presented with incorrect positions which did not reflect the respondents' policy"; that OPT residents could fill out their requests in Hebrew, Arabic, or English, "according to their wishes and abilities. All requests will be properly processed in conformity with the civil administration's procedures"; furthermore, that the DCOs would be responsible for translating requests to Hebrew in cases requiring security screening.

Just a week later, it turned out that this policy, announced by the state to the court, was not being implemented. On February 15, 2011, a Palestinian who arrived at the Hebron DCO to file an objection against a travel ban issued against him was told by the soldier at the DCO to use the "typing service" – a private service operated by Palestinians sitting outside the DCO with their typewriters who offer to fill out forms in Hebrew for a fee. HaMoked telephoned the DCO and spoke to the officer who had handled the case that led to the petition; she insisted that the applicant should employ a "typist", because, anyhow, "there are no objection forms at the DCO.” Only after the civil administration public liaison officer was contacted, the correct form suddenly "turned up" and the DCO soldiers allowed the applicant to fill it out himself, in Arabic.

On March 3, 2011, the general relief sought in the petition was validated in a judgment: DCO soldiers must now allow OPT residents to file applications in Arabic, their native tongue and the official language in the OPT; if a Hebrew translation is needed, the DCOs must arrange for it; OPT residents applying to the DCO must be provided with all required forms, and must never be referred to the services of typists.

HaMoked will continue to monitor the situation to ascertain that the court's judgment is being implemented in fact.



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On January 4, 2011, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice to instruct the military to permit residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) to submit to the District Coordination Offices (DCOs) requests in Arabic. HaMoked asserted that the refusal to handle requests and documents in Arabic was illegal and antithetical to the obligations of the military commander and the civil administration in the OPT under both Israeli law and international humanitarian and human rights law.  

The petition was filed following a letter from the head of the civil administration in the West Bank to HaMoked – concerning the civil administration's refusal to process a Palestinian woman's request to travel abroad – which notified that under a new policy introduced by security officials, Palestinians were now required to fill out request forms in Hebrew only, otherwise, their requests would not be processed.

In its response to the petition, the State Attorney's Office claimed that it had been an isolated error, and that "the petitioners were presented with incorrect positions which did not reflect the respondents' policy"; that OPT residents could fill out their requests in Hebrew, Arabic, or English, "according to their wishes and abilities. All requests will be properly processed in conformity with the civil administration's procedures"; furthermore, that the DCOs would be responsible for translating requests to Hebrew in cases requiring security screening.

Just a week later, it turned out that this policy, announced by the state to the court, was not being implemented. On February 15, 2011, a Palestinian who arrived at the Hebron DCO to file an objection against a travel ban issued against him was told by the soldier at the DCO to use the "typing service" – a private service operated by Palestinians sitting outside the DCO with their typewriters who offer to fill out forms in Hebrew for a fee. HaMoked telephoned the DCO and spoke to the officer who had handled the case that led to the petition; she insisted that the applicant should employ a "typist", because, anyhow, "there are no objection forms at the DCO.” Only after the civil administration public liaison officer was contacted, the correct form suddenly "turned up" and the DCO soldiers allowed the applicant to fill it out himself, in Arabic.

On March 3, 2011, the general relief sought in the petition was validated in a judgment: DCO soldiers must now allow OPT residents to file applications in Arabic, their native tongue and the official language in the OPT; if a Hebrew translation is needed, the DCOs must arrange for it; OPT residents applying to the DCO must be provided with all required forms, and must never be referred to the services of typists.

HaMoked will continue to monitor the situation to ascertain that the court's judgment is being implemented in fact.



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