Gisha receives a response to its request for information about the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism
On January 29, 2015, Gisha sent the Freedom of Information Officer at the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) a request for information about the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (Hebrew).
The program was mentioned in passing during a meeting Gisha had with the head of the Gaza DCO in late November 2014, but other than the knowledge of its existence and its title, we were not given any details about it, hence the request for information.
In the request we asked for information about the program – who initiated it, what its objectives are, which officials are responsible for implementing it and any other information that would help shed light on the issue.
We received COGAT’s response on March 8, 2015, stating that the program was a mechanism for controlling and monitoring construction materials entering Gaza for the purpose of reconstruction, and that it was developed by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the UN. The document itself was not published as it contains references to security elements.
Despite the confidentiality, COGAT did divulge that according to the program’s principles, the Palestinian Authority takes the lead role in Gaza’s reconstruction, while Israel enables it with the UN and the international community providing support in terms of funding and monitoring.
As far as we know, this is the first official document to refer in any way to the issue of construction materials entering the Gaza Strip, though the mechanism was finalized back in October of 2014.