Gaza Border 58.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
One year after Gisha: The Legal Center for Freedom of Movement petitioned the
Tel Aviv District Administrative Court, the state agreed on Thursday to provide
three out of the four documents that governed its overland closure policy in the
Gaza Strip until earlier this year.
It took the state 16 months to
partially agree to Gisha’s request for the four documents, which was based on
the Freedom of Information Law.
Furthermore, the closure policy discussed
in the documents no longer exists, since it was overhauled in the wake of the
flotilla incident in May and subsequent increased international condemnation of
the closure. As a result, the documents which the state agreed to release are
largely or entirely obsolete.
Until the policy change, there were four
documents dealing with the import of humanitarian goods to Gaza: the procedure
for admitting goods; the procedure for monitoring the level of stocks in Gaza to
prevent shortages; a list of “humanitarian” goods allowed into Gaza; and a
document called “Food Consumption in Gaza – Red Lines,” which reportedly
determined the necessary minimum caloric intake that Gaza residents required of
the different types of food permitted to enter the Strip.
submitted questions about the state’s policy on June 14, 2009. It charged that
the Defense Ministry avoided providing answers.
The organization filed
its petition on October 27, 2009, demanding answers to several questions,
including whether there were lists of approved and prohibited goods for
At first the state replied in the negative. Afterwards, it admitted
that it had made “imprecise statements” to the court during the first hearing
“because of a misunderstanding.”
In the second hearing, on May 9, 2010,
the state admitted that there were four documents and described each one, but
refused to release them on the grounds that this would threaten state
Five months later, and after the change in the government’s
closure policy, it has agreed to release three of the four documents within two
weeks. However, it continues to refuse to release the so-called Red Lines
In the meantime, however, Gisha is demanding that the state
release not only the Red Lines document, but also the documents governing
Israel’s post-flotilla policy in the Gaza Strip. Under the new policy, all
humanitarian goods may be imported except for those on a list of specific items,
including “dual-purpose” commodities that have both civilian and military
According to Gisha legal director Tamar Feldman, “it is a shame
that it took one and a half years of obstruction before the state agreed to
reveal documents required by law, and more regrettable that the state continues
to hide information about its current Gaza policy.”