On May 11, 2014, Gisha requested (Hebrew) that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) provide the organization with a copy of the agreement signed between the governments of Israel and the Netherlands on February 26, 2012. The agreement concerns the placement of merchandise scanners at the Allenby Bridge and Kerem Shalom border crossings. The request was based on the Freedom of Information Act 5758-1998 (FOIA).
The spokesperson for the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories issued notices regarding the signing of the agreement on February 28, 2014 and on June 7, 2014. The more recent notice stated that a foreign ministry delegate had signed the agreement.
The ministry’s response arrived close to the 30-day deadline for response stipulated in the FOIA, stating that “the requested information has not been located”, and asking for an additional 30 days to respond.
When the additional 30-day period expired, the MFA asked for another extension, for the maximum time permitted in the act (60 days), due to “the need to receive the comments of additional ministries involved in the issue”.
On September 9, 2014, after another reminder was sent and when the 120 days allowed for response in the FOIA were up, the MFA finally provided Gisha with a copy of the agreement. The reason given for this delay was difficulties in locating the document outside the MFA and approving its delivery by a third party. After it turned out that bilateral agreements aren’t filed by the MFA, the agreement is now accessible here.