HaMoked to the military: Israelis should not be denied entry into Gaza because their humanitarian requests include hospital documents issued with the “State of Palestine” logo המוקד להגנת הפרט
13.02.2022
HaMoked to the military: Israelis should not be denied entry into Gaza because their humanitarian requests include hospital documents issued with the “State of Palestine” logo
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On February 10, 2022, HaMoked sent the military a letter of complaint regarding the latter’s recurring refusal to consider Israelis’ requests to enter the Gaza Strip when they are substantiated by documents bearing the heading “State of Palestine”. The requests in questions are submitted to the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) according to the “Procedure for Processing Requests by Israelis to Exit from Israel to the Gaza Strip”, pursuant to the narrow criteria established in the “Status of Authorizations” document, published and periodically updated by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). In its letter, HaMoked complained that in several recent cases where it had submitted requests on behalf of Israelis seeking to enter Gaza, the military had responded that the requests would not be processed – i.e., refused in effect – because the necessary documentation was issued under the logo “State of Palestine”. Usually these are documents from Gaza hospitals, such as medical reports attached to entry requests for the purpose of visiting a family member who is severely ill or hospitalized, or death notices in the case of requests to enter to participate in an immediate relative’s funeral. In the case of a funeral, under the military procedure, only a death certificate – bearing the logo of the Palestinian Authority – is required, however, the military often demands a hospital death notice as well, knowing full well it will be issued with the logo of “State of Palestine”.

HaMoked asserted that refusing entry to Gaza on this ground was unreasonable and stemmed from an extraneous consideration, given that the DCO must process requests to enter Gaza only according to the stipulated criteria and examine the supporting documents only in order to determine whether the request was genuine and justified. HaMoked noted that the military had approved other requests substantiated by documents bearing this heading, and that this supported the conclusion that refusal in such cases was arbitrary and unreasonable. Moreover, HaMoked clarified that “there is no call for political considerations, ostensibly linked to the foreign relations of the State of Israel but completely irrelevant to its policy regarding travel between its territory and the territory of the Gaza Strip, to prevail over the [rights] of its innocent citizens and residents” – in any case, this population’s right to visit their relatives in Gaza is overwhelmingly denied except in the rare instances where their request meets the extremely narrow humanitarian criteria set by the military.

It should be noted that this is not a new phenomenon and HaMoked has had to handle such blatantly political refusals in the past (see case from 2014).

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