Letter of complaint sent to the Gaza DCO following the seizure of Israeli citizens’ passports at Erez Crossing
In response to queries made by Gisha, both the Population, Immigration and Border Authority (Hebrew) and the Israelis desk at the Gaza DCO (Hebrew) explained that although there is no legal arrangement that allows for seizing passports as a condition for entering the Gaza Strip, "some Israelis ask to leave their passports at the crossing, strictly of their own volition". Information Gisha recently received in the course of processing requests made by Israeli citizens to enter Gaza reveals that when Israelis arrive at Erez Crossing, they are required to sign an improvised declaration that has been added to their permit in handwriting, in Hebrew, stating that they wish to deposit their passports of their own free will. Many of the people who enter Gaza are not completely proficient in Hebrew. They are told to sign the declaration with no explanation as to what it says and no clarification that signing the declaration and depositing their passport are voluntary rather than a condition for passage.
On March 21, 2013, after uncovering this practice, Gisha sent a letter of complaint (Hebrew) to the commander of the Israelis desk at the DCO. We requested that every measure be taken to put an end to the unacceptable practice of seizing passports, ostensibly at the request of those entering, and to make sure that legal provisions and protocols are genuinely respected rather than just appearing to be so.
To read the letter of complaint (Hebrew)
Response of the Population, Immigration and Border Authority (Hebrew)
Response of the DCO (Hebrew)