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The HCJ to the state: find a way to provide prompt answers to Palestinians who seek to travel abroad, especially in urgent cases

Following HaMoked’s petition against the state’s foot dragging in providing responses to Palestinians who seek to go abroad, the HCJ condemned the state’s conduct in the matter. In a brief judgment, issued July 5, 2016, the court clarified that it had enough of the resulting waste of its precious time, and ordered the state to explain “why the Respondents do not answer the applicants on time… and [so] they are forced to file a petition with all the waste of recourses of the parties”, and to formulate a detailed mechanism to eliminate the defects.

After the state submitted to the HCJ a laconic notice that neither explained its flawed conduct nor drafted a mechanism for improving the system, the HCJ ruled on April 20, 2017 that “an effort is needed to make it as easier as possible for the Palestinian population requiring permits at the administrative level, to simplify living in the complex political, legal and daily reality… and it is not unattainable”.

In the hearing of May 9, 2017, Deputy President Rubinstein stressed that the purpose of the proceeding went beyond the handling of individual cases, and that “there is a public purpose to this case”. In the decision handed down at the end of the hearing, the court instructed the state to address two main failings raised by HaMoked: the unavailability and limited work hours of the District Coordination Offices (DCOs), charged with providing responses to the Palestinian applicants; and the protracted delay in handling urgent applications to go abroad, for, e.g., a funeral of a close relative or an urgent need to undergo medical treatment provided abroad. The justices also addressed HaMoked’s claim that the military should review security bans on foreign travel more often – once every six or twelve months – rather than once every two years as customary. Thus court proceedings could be avoided where it turned out in advance that the ban was unjustified and it would be lifted ahead of time. On this the HCJ noted that “presumably the entities of the Respondent will take into consideration that which HaMoked has said”. The justices also ruled that it was necessary to appoint a relatively superior official at the civil administration that would act as a contact for cases where processing was being unreasonably delayed.

The court instructed the state to submit a supplemental notice within 21 days. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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