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7.12.2005

HaMoked's petition leads to publication of Interior Ministry procedures regarding citizens' and residents' travel to Jordan: According to the procedure, notice must be served to anyone regarding whom there is a decision to prohibit exit to Jordan for security reasons. Such a prohibition is valid for no more than six months and the affected person has a right to submit an objection regarding it

On 18 September 2005, HaMoked petitioned the Administrative Affairs Court under the Freedom of Information Act. The petition was filed after the Interior Ministry refrained from responding to a request regarding procedures for prohibiting residents and citizens from traveling abroad through Jordan. The request was submitted after residents of East Jerusalem who arrived at the Allenby Bridge in order to cross the border into Jordan and were denied access without explanation, warrant or hearing, contacted HaMoked. 

It must be noted that a general permit to exit to Jordan has been in place since the Jordanian-Israeli peace agreement in 1994, (Jordan is still listed as an "enemy state" under Section 5 of the Defense (Emergency) Regulations (travel abroad) – 1948 and Section 2a of the Prevention of Infiltration (offences and adjudication) – 1954), except in cases of people regarding whom the Interior Ministry or someone appointed thereto by him, decided otherwise. This clause is broad and vague and gives no indication as to the procedures for preventing a person from exiting to Jordan nor as to who is empowered to make such a decision. It is impossible to ascertain from the clause whether it is possible to give advance notice to a person who had been prohibited from traveling, whether the prohibition is reevaluated and if so how often and whether the prohibition is time-limited. 

HaMoked stressed that procedures and guidelines which directly affect the constitutional right to leave the country must be clear and transparent and must include strict guarantees to minimize the infringement on this constitutional right. In its petition, HaMoked requested these procedures and guidelines be exposed and said that the fact that the Interior Ministry had refrained from responding to the request for a protracted period of time is a blatant violation of the law. 

On 7 December 2005, the Interior Ministry submitted its response to the petition. The Ministry claimed that its refraining from responding to the request was a result of the fact that there had not been an official in charge of responding to requests forwarded under the Freedom of Information Act. On the issue itself, the Ministry notified that it has an unwritten procedure on this matter. This procedure necessitates, inter-alia, sending a notice to a person whose exit to Jordan had been denied by the Population Administration for security reasons. That written notice is supposed to specify that the affected person has a right to object to and argue against the decision. The procedure also necessitates notices about the person be sent to the relevant Population Administration Bureau and border control. 

It must be noted that HaMoked is not aware of any cases where the procedure was implemented and such notices were actually sent. 

To view the petition (in Hebrew) 

To view the Interior Ministry's response (in Hebrew) 

mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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