Gisha filed a Freedom of Information application to COGAT to disclose the medical criteria for receiving a permit to visit sick relatives
The document that determines the policy on movement of people between the State of Israel and the Gaza Strip shows that travel by Gaza residents to the West Bank is permitted for the purpose of “visiting an immediate relative who has a serious illness which is life-threatening”. However, neither the document itself, nor any other official document lists which medical conditions the authorities consider “serious” and in what situations the authorities believe a condition is “life-threatening”. Currently, requests to enter or leave the Gaza Strip for the purpose of visiting a sick relative are submitted while an applicant has no practical way of knowing whether his or her request meets the criteria for approval or not. This often confuses applicants and creates a sense that applications are reviewed in an arbitrary manner.
On February 19, 2013, Gisha, together with Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, filed an application under the Freedom of Information Act 5758-1998, in order to obtain the documents that list the procedures, criteria and considerations that guide the authorities in processing applications for travel permits for the purpose of visiting sick relatives.
The Freedom of Information application was addressed to Major Guy Inbar, who is in charge of implementing the Freedom of Information Act at the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. Its purpose was to find out whether there is a set protocol for admitting and reviewing the applications, which body reviews them, what considerations are taken into account, what is the timeframe for reviewing such applications, whether they are answered in writing, whether there is a list of specific medical conditions that warrant a permit, whether there is a process for contesting a decision to deny a permit, etc.
To read the application (Hebrew)