Gisha requests Attorney General and MAG to reconsider the arrangements in place for the entry of Palestinians from Gaza to Israel for legal proceedings
On July 7, 2015, Gisha sent the Attorney General and the Military Advocate General (MAG), a letter (Hebrew) concerning the arrangements currently in place for the entry of Palestinians from Gaza into Israel for the purpose of legal proceedings. The current arrangements are impracticable and severely violate the right of Palestinian residents to access to justice.
The current arrangements are stipulated in the Procedure for Considering Gaza Residents’ Applications for Entry Permits for Reasons Relating to Legal Proceedings in Israel, issued by COGAT in 2013. Not a single application has been approved under this procedure to date.
There are two areas of concern with respect to the current procedure. Procedurally, it requires applicants to present countless documents and details they often do not have, within an unreasonable timeframe. Substantively, the procedure requires proof that the legal proceeding itself presents exceptional humanitarian grounds. In other words, the fact that there is a legal proceeding that requires the applicant to enter Israel is not enough, and the applicant also has to prove that the legal proceeding presents humanitarian grounds. This requirement compels that security establishment to dig into the legal proceeding in order to determine whether it is justified and whether or not it constitutes humanitarian grounds, which requires it to consider matters it is neither equipped nor competent to consider.
Gisha, therefore, requested a re-evaluation of the existing arrangement, and suggested a better, more practicable alternative. According to our suggested process, an applicant seeking entry into Israel for legal proceedings (including court appearances, required examinations, consultations with lawyers, signing affidavits and powers of attorney, etc.) would file an application to the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee, enclosing relevant documents demonstrating that a legal proceeding is underway (without reference to the subject matter). The security establishment would have to make a decision after examining the documents and making the relevant security considerations.