Gisha submits two Freedom of Information Applications to COGAT regarding the list of dual-use items restricted from entering Gaza
Israel has been restricting the entry of many civilian goods into Gaza for many years, claiming these goods are “dual-use” items, or items that mostly serve civilian needs, but can also be used for military purposes. After 2010, and the Marmara flotilla incident, the list of “dual-use” items was scaled back, and Israel’s official policy was to allow all goods into Gaza, with the exception of the goods included in the list, though special permit requests could be made to bring those goods in as well. After Operation Protective Edge, Israel stressed its commitment to Gaza’s economic and civilian rehabilitation and pledged to further increase movement of goods into and out of the Strip. However, in 2015, the list of dual-use items was formally published and included significant expansions beyond what had been published previously in informal lists and/or restricted from entering Gaza. The items on the list are patently civilian and additions (Hebrew) include items needed for everyday life in Gaza, such as wood planks of a certain dimension, uninterrupted power supply (UPS) parts, and castor oil.
Gaza suppliers and factory owners report that these measures have severely undermined Gaza’s economy, industry and livelihoods and that entire sectors, like Gaza’s furniture sector, are in danger of collapsing (Hebrew). Suppliers reported that most of their applications for special permits to bring in essential equipment have been rejected, which means this is, in fact, a sweeping prohibition on bringing civilian goods into Gaza.
Given the significant expansion of the dual-use items list, and the reports from suppliers, Gisha filed two applications under the Freedom of Information Act 5758-1998 to the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), asking the unit to explain the procedure for filing applications (Hebrew) for special permits to bring dual-use items into Gaza, and figures on the denial and approval of such applications (Hebrew) in recent years. We are waiting for responses to these requests.