Here’s a story for you: About a month ago we asked the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to allow a young journalist from Gaza to exit the Strip so she could meet with the editors of the Israeli magazine she writes for, and participate in a workshop on photography, editing and content publishing.
According to the criteria for Palestinians’ exit from Gaza via Erez Crossing, foreign journalists may exit and in cases such as hers, a request must be submitted to the COGAT spokesperson, which is what we did.
A few days later, when we called to see where things stood with the application, we were told that the COGAT spokesperson had transferred it to the COGAT public liaison department. On Thursday, we received their response: please contact the COGAT spokesperson.
In any case, in all the back and forth, the workshop the journalist had hoped to attend came and went.
We often write about how the criteria for Palestinians’ exit from the Strip are narrow and bizarre to the point of arbitrariness. We recently shared the story of Nader al-Masri, a marathon runner whose request to race in the Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem was denied even though soccer players feature in the list of individuals who may exit Gaza. We also recently posted a short film highlighting that while the criteria allow for a person to visit her ailing mother in the West Bank, they forbid a grandchild from visiting her grandmother. Even those who do meet the criteria and against whom no security claims are raised go through a long and complicated bureaucratic ordeal which doesn’t always guarantee they’ll actually get to travel.