After years of video conferencing, a Gaza branch manager finally meets his colleagues in the West Bank face-to-face.
Three months after a request submitted by Gisha, Ziad was permitted to participate in work meetings in the West Bank: Ziad is the Gaza branch manager of a large Palestinian pharmaceutical company. He has worked for the company for over a decade. The company’s headquarters is located in the West Bank and, as part of his job description, Ziad must participate in the company’s management meetings which take place in Ramallah, and in other crucial staff meetings held in the West Bank. Ziad has contacted military authorities requesting a permit to travel to the West Bank for work meetings on numerous occasions. The requests were never answered and he has had to participate in the meetings via telephone or video conferencing. In these circumstances it is very difficult for Ziad to check new products and get a full and clear picture of what goes on in the meetings. This situation also impedes Ziad from attending seminars on new developments in the company and in the pharmaceutical business. This has a detrimental effect on the company’s marketing efforts in the Gaza Strip.
Gisha recommended Ziad contact the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee in mid-July 2011 in order to file another application for travel to the West Bank. A month went by and again, Ziad received no answer. At this point, Gisha sent a letter to the Israeli army's Gaza District Coordination Office explaining that giving Ziad the permit would be consistent with Israel’s official policy on encouraging economic activity in the Gaza Strip and that the pharmaceuticals and medical equipment that would be brought into the Gaza Strip would allow Gaza residents to fulfill their right to health and to receive medical treatment.
After a long delay of some two months, Gisha was informed that Ziad had been invited for a meeting with the Gaza DCO economic coordinator. Ziad arrived at the meeting and made an effort to answer the questions posed to him, though some of them were outside his area of expertise and related to statistics on patients with specific illnesses in the Gaza Strip. Finally, on November 3, 2011, Ziad’s application was approved. He spent two and a half days in the West Bank, finally meeting with his colleagues at the company face-to-face.