May 15, 2016

The Tel Aviv District Court ordered the petition deleted two years after it was filed. In the interim, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) published 80 procedures in Hebrew and 46 in Arabic, prompting the court to determine, on May 10, 2016, that the petition had achieved its purpose. In her judgment (Hebrew), Justice Orna Levy stated: “With all procedures having been posted to the temporary website, and the respondent having stated that a permanent website, where all procedures requiring publication will be posted, would be launched this coming August, the petition has exhausted itself, and I order it be deleted. On the issue of costs, there is no doubt that the petition, filed after previous communications were made to the respondent, has advanced the issue. The respondent’s sluggish and unnecessarily complex response, which caused proceedings to last two years, must be taken into account, on the one hand. On the other, the respondent’s contentions regarding difficulties it faced and its pertinent approach toward the petition must also be considered.” The justice ordered the state to pay Gisha 7,000 ILS in trial costs.

In January 2016, the justice had criticized the state (Hebrew) over the fact that due a malfunction in COGAT’s official website it had posted the protocols to a temporary website, whose address was not published. She stated that: “[The State] posted the protocols to an unofficial site that is not effectively accessible to the public, whose address is unknown, nor is it published by the respondents, and which is unreachable through any official website. It also appears that a link posted to a Facebook page is not enough. In addition, the respondents’ reply that the petitioner itself must see to it that the web address and the information on the site are disseminated is not a sufficient solution to the site’s inaccessibility.”

Still, though the state pledged (Hebrew) before the court that the permanent COGAT website would be launched in August 2016, it was only released in February of 2017 (Hebrew). At the moment, the website includes most of the protocols that were published before Gisha’s petition was filed and while it was pending. However, contrary to the statements made by the state (Hebrew), the website does not, as yet, provide online services to the Palestinian population and does not contain all the information it needs.