aid into gaza 190.114.
(photo credit: AP)
allow flour into the Gaza Strip but prohibit vinegar and coriander? Why did it
suddenly drop the ban on the import of diapers, mops, black pepper and savory
two months ago? How does preventing shoes and children's toys from entering enhance 's security? These are some
of the questions which human rights organization Gisha -
for Freedom of Movement said on Wednesday it hopes to receive answers to in the
wake of a decision on Thursday by the Tel Aviv District Court.
The court gave the state 30 days to produce documents requested by the
petitioner under the Freedom of Information Act or to explain why it refused to
In the petition, Gisha told the court it had written to Defense Minister
Ehud Barak on April 22, 2009, asking which criteria were used to define
humanitarian supplies, what were the regulations guiding the work of the
Coordinator of Activities in the Territories and whether there were lists of
commodities permitted or prohibited from export to .
Gisha charged that the Defense Ministry provided incomplete answers to its
questions. On June 14 it presented a long list of questions and requested
answers in accordance with the Freedom of Information Law.
Among the questions: What are humanitarian supplies? Are there criteria for
determining what constitutes humanitarian supplies? Is there a list of
commodities that are prohibited from entering ? What are the regulations for examining
requests to bring in supplies to ?
Gisha charged that the Defense Ministry gave it the run-around for several
months and did not reply to the questions.
In one of its letters asking for a progress report from the Defense
Ministry, Gisha also asked it to provide the so-called "red-lines"
document, which allegedly determined the minimum nutrition level required to
sustain the Palestinian population in Gaza and included detailed tables on the
number of calories and grams of each type of food which should be made
available to the Gaza residents according to age and sex.
Reports that such a "red-line" document existed first appeared in
a newspaper report on June 15, 2009.
After failing to receive a response to its questions, Gisha petitioned the
Tel Aviv District Court in October to order the Defense Ministry to provide the
information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.
The state finally replied to Gisha's questions on January 13. Regarding the
"red lines" document, Guy Inbar, the spokesman of the Coordinator of
Activities wrote, "There is no official red-lines document. Your request
might refer to one of several drafts of internal staff memos written about this
matter and regarding which there is no obligation by law to make them
available. The office of the Coordinator of Activities examines the
requirements of the
population all the time."
The court found the state's response to the petition unsatisfactory and gave
it 30 days to either produce the documents or explain why it refused to do so.