Twenty thousand shekels in costs awarded to Gisha in a Freedom of Information petition on the subject of Palestinian labor flows into Israel, AP 27605-01-11 Gisha v. Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit
Over the course of two-and-a-half years of legal proceedings, the petitioners slowly and gradually received statistics on the quotas for employing Palestinians in Israel and the number of work permits actually issued. Last year's figures were recently published, as required, in the Population and Immigration Authority’s activity report for 2012 (available here in Hebrew). In addition, following the petition, the agency posted on its website all the forms required for filing applications for employing Palestinian workers in Israel (Hebrew) for use by potential employers. In response to the petitioners' demand, these procedures were translated into Arabic and posted for use by Palestinian workers.
In addition, over the course of the proceedings, the authorities published protocols that had been concealed from the public until then, including the protocol for Palestinian employment (Hebrew) which details the process for obtaining work permits, the protocol for issuing magnetic cards (Hebrew), which Palestinian workers are required to carry when entering Israel, and the protocol for removing a security preclusion, which details how a person can be removed from the blacklist of individuals who are barred from entering Israel. Some of these protocols were also posted on the COGAT website in Hebrew and Arabic.
Given that the requested information was received by the petitioners, in a judgment delivered on May 19, 2013 (Hebrew), Justice Michal Agmon-Gonen ordered that the petition be deleted. However, since the petition was the sole reason the respondents provided the information, which, according to law, should have been provided and published anyway, costs were awarded to the petitioners.
From the judgment:
When the administrative authority was capable of granting the reprieve sought by the petitioner without a need to file a petition for that end, there is no reason that the petitioner should bear the costs of the petition. In such a situation, it is the authority that caused the costs borne by the petitioner and it is fair and just that the authority should be the one to bear them, despite the fact that the proceeding ended in deletion, rather than a judgment against the authority.
The above specified details indicate that it was the petition that moved to respondents to take action and caused the full information sought by the petitioners to be ultimately provided to them. In this context, it is impossible to ignore the protracted period of time that elapsed from the time the petition was filed and until it became moot, and the many actions required of the petitioners during the course of the proceedings and the difficulties they experienced until they received all the information sought.
In light of this, as stated, the petition was deleted and the respondents were ordered to pay 20,000 NIS for the petitioners' costs.
For the judgment (Hebrew)