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19.4.2018

HaMoked in a petition to the HCJ: instruct the military to provide information regarding entry permits to the "Seam Zone", in response to a request submitted more than nine months ago

Since 2003, the Israeli military has imposed a draconian permit regime in the West Bank areas trapped between the separation wall and the Green Line (the armistice line between Israel and the West Bank), an area it refers to as "the Seam Zone". The permit regime applies to Palestinians only; Israelis and tourists do not require a permit to enter the Seam Zone or stay in it. Palestinians who live in the Seam Zone or wish to enter it in order to tend to their lands, visit relatives or conduct trade, are forced to obtain a permit subject to the regulations of a stifling and highly bureaucratic military mechanism, which dictates a myriad of conditions for the receipt of permits to enter and stay in the Seam Zone.

On June 27, 2017, HaMoked submitted a request to the military for data on the number of requests for permits to enter the Seam Zone that were submitted during 2014-2017; the number of permits issued by the military during those years; the types of permits that were issued; the duration of the validity of the permits; and more. Additionally, HaMoked requested information regarding the number of permit requests that were denied for security reasons and for "failure to meet the criteria", as well as information regarding the number of permits that were confiscated by the military during those years.

Nine months after HaMoked's request was submitted, with no substantive response having been received, on April 17, 2018 HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to instruct the military to respond to its request. In the petition, HaMoked emphasized the centrality of the principle of freedom of information as a vital means of oversight of the authorities in the defense of human rights. HaMoked also noted that the protracted delay in response to the information request entails serious harm to the right to access information and the right to reveal the truth, and precludes the use of the requested information, both in individual cases – for the purpose of defending Palestinians whose rights have been violated – and on the public-principled level.

The Court ordered the military to submit a preliminary response to the petition within 60 days.
mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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