Petition filed under the Freedom of Information Act against the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories following its failure to publish an annual report, AP 21525-07-13
COGAT is a public authority whose actions affect the lives of some 2.6 million Palestinian residents of the West Bank and 1.7 million in the Gaza Strip. COGAT's policies and procedures dictate the extent to which Palestinian residents are able to see their relatives, study, trade and lead normal lives. Residents' ability to exercise their rights is also dependent on how accessible information published by COGAT is to them.
Gisha sent two letters to the official in charge of implementing the Freedom of Information Act at COGAT on April 16, 2012 and June 11, 2012. The letters stressed COGAT's obligation to publish an annual report for 2011. COGAT has not yet answered either of these letters. A complaint sent on August 30, 2012 to the Freedom of Information unit at the Justice Ministry was of no avail and, more than a year after Gisha first sent the letter, no annual report was published for 2012 either.
Having exhausted other options, Gisha filed a petition under the Freedom of Information Act (Hebrew) to the Tel Aviv District Court sitting as the Court for Administrative Affairs. In the petition, the court was requested to instruct COGAT to publish the report for 2012 and excerpts from the 11 reports that have not been published in the years since the provisions of the act were applied to the army. The court was also requested to instruct COGAT to publish a Freedom of Information page on its website as required by Protocol No. 4 of the Freedom of Information unit at the Justice Ministry. This page is intended to help the public make use of the provisions of the act and exercise their rights. Despite a letter also addressing this issue (sent on January 29, 2013), and despite the fact that this is not a particularly complicated task to complete, there is still no Freedom of Information page on the COGAT website.
To read the petition (in Hebrew)