Gisha submits request for further details in petition filed on behalf of Israeli citizens living in the Gaza Strip who wish to enter Israel, AP (Jerusalem) 55909-12-12
In order to receive clarifications and supplementary information on the argument made in the response, on March 5, we requested further details (Hebrew) from the respondents – pursuant to Regulation 11(a) of the Administrative Affairs Court Regulations (Rules of Procedure) 5761-2001. We asked to receive Ministry of Interior files relating to the petitioners, including all relevant documents, notes and correspondence collected by the Ministry of Interior and kept in the petitioners’ population registry files. We also requested population registry files of the petitioners’ sisters, who were directly mentioned in the written response and had given their consent for information to be disclosed. In addition, we requested all relevant records originating from the security forces or the Ministry of Interior that crosscheck the petitioners’ and their sisters’ Palestinian ID numbers against their Israeli ID numbers.
In the response to the request, dated March 7, 2013 (Hebrew), counsel for the respondents noted that he had transferred the request to the Population Authority for response, but as the hearing was scheduled soon thereafter (March 10, 2013), the request would not receive a substantive response. Counsel for the respondents further explained that: “The Population Authority has not yet conducted the required individual inquiry into the case of the petitioners and, in any event, a decision on their case has not yet been made”. Counsel added that the respondents maintain that “The petition is largely premature, as the Ministry of Interior has not fully examined the issue of the petitioners’ identity and has not yet issued an official decision in the matter”.
And so, after endless correspondence with various authorities, including the Population Authority, in order to resolve the issue without involving the court, and some seven months after the initial application was sent, counsel for the respondents effectively admits that the petitioners’ request to enter Israel – their country of nationality – has not even been considered. In this context, it is worth noting that administrative authorities have a duty to act with due speed under Section 11 of the Interpretation Law 5741-1981. According to this law, prolonged delays in reaching decisions may provide cause for taking legal action, requesting the court to order the authority to make a decision. Additionally, Section 2 of the Law Amending Administrative Procedure (Decisions and Reasoning) 5719-1958 stipulates that public servants who receive a written request to exercise their powers must make a decision with respect to the request and respond promptly, within no more than 45 days.