Ever since a new procedure entered into force, according to which rigid criteria for the grant of a driving license in Israel to Palestinians, not even one application was approved: HaMoked demands to soften the procedure and add a clear timeframe for the processing of the applications המוקד להגנת הפרט
21.12.2014
Ever since a new procedure entered into force, according to which rigid criteria for the grant of a driving license in Israel to Palestinians, not even one application was approved: HaMoked demands to soften the procedure and add a clear timeframe for the processing of the applications
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For many years, according to the Transport Regulations, the Licensing Division may not renew or issue an Israeli driving license to residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Since 2012 HaMoked has been handling the case of a Palestinian man who is married to an Israeli resident and lives in Jerusalem, who needs a driving license to drive his wife to the frequent medical treatments she should undergo due to her difficult medical condition. According to the procedure of the Ministry of Transport, HaMoked applied to the military which is empowered to issue licenses on humanitarian grounds.

When it turned out that the committee, which should have handled the matter was not established, HaMoked filed a petition with the High Court of Justice, and requested to order COGAT (the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) to grant the man a driving license in Israel. In addition, HaMoked demanded to order that a committee which would handle applications of OPT residents for a driving license in Israel would be established and that its procedures would be publicized.

During the hearing in the petition the state notified, that the procedure of the Ministry of Transport was revoked and that the responsibility for the handling of this matter was transferred to the military, which published on October 20, 2013 a new procedure, which regulated the issue of licenses to Palestinians in exceptional cases. HaMoked contested in court the new procedure, which was not made known to the public at large, did not define a timeframe for the processing of applications and established very rigid threshold conditions for the submission of a license application.

Information received by HaMoked from the military in response to requests submitted by it according to the Freedom of Information Act, indicates that from 56 applications for a driving license which were submitted after the new procedure entered into effect, on a date which the military refused to disclose to HaMoked even after repeated requests, 37 applications were denied and 19 applications are still pending. No application has been approved yet.

On December 3, 2014 the military notified HaMoked that the application of the Palestinian man was denied, in view of the fact that the difficult medical condition of his wife did not justify the grant of a special driving license according to the criteria which were established in the procedure. In response to the military's notice in the petition, in which it advised of the publication of the new procedure, HaMoked emphasized the fact that the new procedure did not answer the needs and that from the date it entered into effect not even one application was approved. HaMoked also argued that no timeframe for the processing of the application was established. HaMoked requested the court to schedule a hearing in the petition.
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