March 22, 2016

On January 18, Gisha submitted two applications under the Freedom of Information Act 5758-1998 to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). In these, COGAT was asked to provide details on the procedure for submitting applications (Hebrew) for special permits to bring dual-use goods into Gaza and figures on the approval and denial of such applications (Hebrew) in recent years. The response to the first application (Hebrew) was received on March 22, 2016, leaving out much of the requested information.

COGAT’s very brief response indicates that “The Procedure for Bringing Controlled Goods into the Gaza Strip”, which was drafted and published by COGAT in 2010, after the flotilla incident, is no longer in effect. According to COGAT, the most current list of dual-use goods and the procedure for filing applications for special permits to bring these goods into Gaza are established only in Israeli law and in the orders and regulations issued pursuant to it. The law in question is the Defense Export Control Law from 2007, which generally addresses export permits for military related goods and the Defense Export Control Order 2008 (Controlled Dual-Use Goods Transferred to Areas under Palestinian Civilian Control 5769-2008) (Hebrew). This means COGAT in fact confirms that it has no administrative directives or guidelines detailing its powers to prevent the entry of what is referred to as dual-use goods into Gaza.

COGAT enclosed with its response several forms that must be filled out by those interested in bringing dual-use goods into Gaza, but the response is unclear on who has to file these forms and how. COGAT also failed to mention how COGAT officials who handle requests to bring in dual-use goods may be contacted, or give any details about the actual process by which applications are submitted and permits are received, referring only to the general law on this issue.

COGAT emphasized in the response that according to the Procedure for Coordinating Entry of Goods into the Gaza Strip, from 2015, any goods entering Gaza must be coordinated in advance with the Israeli authorities, whether these are dual-use goods that require a special permit or “ordinary” goods.