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Israeli Human Rights organizations to the Minister of Defense: Israel must allow Palestinian travel via Erez Crossing, and allow Gazans to request permits directly, without PA coordination

On June 18, 2020, Israeli human rights organizations – Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, HaMoked, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Gisha and Adalah – wrote to the Minister of Defense, the Attorney General and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, to demand that Israel immediately enable travel of Palestinians via Erez crossing, irrespective of coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

The letter said that following Israel’s declaration about its intention to annex part of the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority announced a suspension of its coordination with Israel, including coordination between the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee and Israel’s Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) concerning travel-permit requests by Gazans. Coordination has stopped also in severe and urgent humanitarian cases, among them dozens of patients, including children, who require medical treatment – even urgent and lifesaving treatment – available in either the West Bank or Israel but not in Gaza.

The organizations clarified that in the absence of clear guidelines regarding the halt to coordination, applicants from Gaza have been left without a clear address for filing requests. At the same time, Israel rejects almost all requests it has received, for no substantial reason – as most requests meet the extremely narrow Israeli criteria set during the pandemic – but simply because Israel has not yet established an alternative to the coordination mechanism.

Therefore, the organizations called on Israel to immediately publish clear guidelines on an alternative way of filing requests, and to implement the arrangement established for Palestinians in the West Bank, who may file requests directly to the Israeli DCOs. The organizations clarified that the absence of a parallel arrangement severely harms basic rights of Palestinians in Gaza, including the rights to health, family life and freedom of movement. The organizations emphasized that Israel controls the crossings and Gazans’ freedom of movement, so international humanitarian law, human rights law and Israeli law all obligate Israel vis-à-vis this population. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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