H. is a married mother of two from Gaza who wanted to visit her spouse, who lives in Turkey. Her application was transferred to the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) via the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee (PCAC). There was no response. After Gisha reached out on her behalf, we were told she would be summoned for security questioning through the PCAC. Two weeks passed and the PCAC told H. it had not received information in her case, so Gisha once again contacted the CLA on November 28, 2021. As in other cases, we received no response.
We therefore contacted the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) on behalf of H. and other clients to complain about the foot-dragging and mishandling of permit applications. On December 27, 2021, the Gaza CLA told us H. had been summoned for security questioning via the PCAC, but chose not to cooperate and did not attend the interview. Inquiries with the PCAC revealed that this was a false claim as the CLA never contacted them about the interview. Gisha once again contacted the CLA, demanding they complete the processing of H.’s application and stressing she had a right to legal representation and that the CLA must communicate with H. via counsel (regardless of whether or not they inform the PCAC). This communication also went unanswered, but after a separate communication to the CLA regarding their overall mishandling of applications, H. was summoned for security questioning on January 10, 2022.
Still, even after the questioning, no decision was made in H.’s case, and Gisha had to contact COGAT and the CLA again. On January 26, 2022, a response came through, indicating that the Gaza CLA had changed its policy and was refusing to respond to inquiries from counsel and that all inquiries should be made through the PCAC. We received an identical response in other cases, and the CLA persisted in its refusal to communicate.
On January 30, 2022, we filed a petition (Hebrew) on H.’s behalf, demanding that the CLA respond to her application and issue a permit for travel abroad via Allenby Bridge. In the petition, we stressed that the change in the respondents’ policy violates Gaza residents’ right to due process and to legal counsel and representation. We clarified that the violation was particularly egregious in the case of Gaza residents due to their lack of access to the Israeli authorities and courts.
Two days after the petition was filed, the respondents approved the petitioner’s exit, and an official document to that effect was sent to her counsel. On February 2, 2022, H. departed Gaza to see her spouse.