Following Gisha’s petition, COGAT publishes 63 procedures in Arabic
Following a Freedom of Information petition filed by Gisha, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has pledged to publish some 60 operating procedures that have either never been published before or that replaced existing procedures (AP 51147-05-14 Gisha v. COGAT). According to COGAT’s notice, the procedures were to be published in three groups in February, April and June 2015, with each procedure published in both Hebrew and Arabic.
Since Gisha filed the application, a total of 80 procedures have been posted on the COGAT’s website. In October, 34 procedures were published, and since COGAT’s pledge, 46 additional procedures have been posted on its website: 12 in February, 2015, 17 additional ones in April, 2015 and 17 more in June, 2015 (Hebrew).
However, the publication of the procedures in Arabic has not been forthcoming, despite COGAT’s pledge to the court. This is also despite the great importance of publicizing these procedures, which govern many civilian issues affecting the Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza, in the language spoken by the relevant group of people.
Publicizing the procedures in Arabic is an integral part of COGAT’s duties, as without it, residents cannot familiarize themselves with the protocols and procedures COGAT issues, understand how they are put into practice in different situations, or plan their activities accordingly. So long as the procedures are not published in Arabic, their validity is questionable and they cannot be considered a guiding tool or a source of authority for COGAT activities.
Gisha has therefore insisted on the publication of the procedures in Arabic as soon as possible and can now report that all procedures that have been published in Hebrew so far, with the exception of the 17 published in June, have been published in Arabic as well on COGAT’s website. Gisha will continue to insist that all published COGAT procedures, along with all other COGAT documents or decisions, are made available in Arabic.