Rights group 'Gisha' questions goods-to-Gaza policy

Rights group Gisha que

By DAN IZENBERG
November 1, 2009 22:33
1 minute read.

 
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The human rights organization Gisha has petitioned the administrative court of Tel Aviv District Court, charging that the government has violated the Freedom of Information Law regarding the disclosure of its criteria for determining which goods being allowed into Gaza are considered "humanitarian." The organization also demanded to see a government document entitled "Red Lines," which reportedly determines the minimum required food intake required by Gaza residents according to age and sex categories to sustain themselves. The alleged existence of the "red lines" document was first reported by the Ha'aretz weekend magazine on June 12, in an article entitled, "The Siege of Gaza is the Great Moment for Profiteers and Wheeler-Dealers Who Have Taken Over the Border Crossings." In addition to the disclosure of an alleged "red line" document, the report also stated that certain people determine what food will enter Gaza at any given time according to their own personal interests. In the petition, Gisha charged that in violation of the Freedom of Information Law, the official responsible for its implementation in the office of the Coordinator of Activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza had failed to reply to its request for information, even though more than two months had elapsed. The petitioners had asked for details regarding the procedures for transferring so-called "humanitarian goods" to Gaza, including such questions as what constitutes humanitarian goods, what are the criteria used for the classification, and whether there were restrictions on the quantity of humanitarian goods that could be imported to Gaza. According to the petitioners, the information was required because "a fog covers most of the procedures and activities of the authorities regarding the transfer of merchandise to the Gaza Strip. The messages that merchants and human rights organizations receive regarding the goods which may or may not be imported keep changing, there are many, sudden delays and there is no reliable regulation that one can refer to to monitor the replies of the civil administration or its timetables. "This conduct causes injury to the most basic rights of one-and-a-half million residents of the Gaza Strip and makes it very hard from a logistical and economic point of view for Israeli and international aid organizations that are trying to help them."

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