Is there a protocol or not? Depends on who you ask

February 12, 2013. For the past 11 months, we have been trying to find out what the “treatment of Israelis protocol” is. This protocol is used for Israeli citizens who live in the Gaza Strip and want to exit. Eleven months of sending us from one authority to the next and the protocol is nowhere to be found.

We know that the protocol exists because the Gaza DCO sometimes refers to it in its responses to our letters. For example, the DCO had sent us a letter saying that our client “would be processed at the Erez crossing according to the ‘treatment of Israelis’ protocol”. We thought that if there was a protocol, it would be good to know what it was, so we contacted the person in charge of freedom of information at the population administration in April 2012. She replied that the subject was in the purview of the Gaza DCO. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), however, said it was the population administration’s responsibility.

So we decided to send a joint letter to the COGAT and the population administration, enclosing the answers the two bodies had given us. We hoped that this time, maybe, someone would provide us with the protocol. Well, COGAT again said the population administration was in charge of this issue. The population administration on the other hand took a new approach and they are now saying that they have no such protocol. The protocol exists. We know it exists. We also know that the Gaza DCO uses it. What the protocol is – we have no idea.