Gisha asks COGAT Public Liaison Officer to publish current Status of Authorizations document
The Status of Authorizations or status of permits document is the main document clarifying access and movement restrictions imposed on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. As such, it is a crucial document to be able to access. It outlines Israel’s policies on various issues relating to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, lists the criteria for travel between the different areas (for example, patients in need of medical care, diplomats, students traveling for academic studies abroad and those wishing to participate in relatives’ weddings), the quotas for the different categories (for example, how many Palestinians from the West Bank can work in Israel), and describes the process for applying to the Israeli authorities to receive permits to travel. The Status of Authorizations document is a collection of written protocols that guide the actions of the authorities, particularly the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, or COGAT, and its subordinates. Therefore, there is a legal requirement to make it publically available. The document is updated at irregular intervals, usually every several weeks.
In mid-December, we discovered that the document had been updated (the previous updated version was issued in November 2015). Despite repeated requests to the COGAT Public Liaison Officer, we have not been able to receive the new document, nor was it published anywhere else.
On January 20, 2016, Gisha sent the public liaison officer a letter (Hebrew), asking to receive the updated Status of Authorizations document and to have it published so the public may be informed of the current protocols. Gisha also informed COGAT that it is inappropriate to change protocols without publically publishing the changes.
On January 28, 2016, we were informed that the document was undergoing amendments and editing to make it clearer and more accessible, and that the new version was expected to be published within a few weeks.