Response to Gisha’s Freedom of Information Application regarding merchant permits
On October 20, 2016, COGAT sent a response to Gisha’s Freedom of Information application (Hebrew) for information regarding travel permits for merchants from Gaza. The response reveals the official statistics on the distribution and refusal of permits for merchants, data COGAT has not provided until now.
According to the data, there was a sharp drop in the number of active senior merchant permits (Business Man Gaza permits (BMGs)) from 410 permits in May 2016, to only 105 in June and 193 in August. During the month of May, over 250 BMG permits were refused, compared to only a few permits that were refused per month for the rest of the year.
The number of active merchant permits fell from 3,181 in January 2016 to 2,438 in September 2016, a drop of 23%. The number of applications for merchant permits that were refused jumped by over 100%, from 574 refusals in January to 1,130 rejections in August.