FOIA Request in Israel Obtains Release of Documents on Gaza

29 October 2010

The Israeli Military has released documents on how it decided which products would and would not be allowed to enter the Palestinian Gaza strip.

The documents were requested by Gisha, a nongovernmental organization working for freedom of movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with the Support of the Movement for Freedom of Information in Israel, which provide legal assistance to Gisha’s legal team.

The documents released, according to a report by Haaretz, “include the formula used by the military to decide what goods will be allowed to enter the strip and how to monitor that the available products are no more than the allowed and no less than a certain threshold.”

The article continued:  “The documents were released by the military in the course of the legal battle, but without a need for ruling on these specific documents. It is not clear what made the military change their mind (and abide with FOI law), but it should be mentioned that in the past the military argues that this publications would compromise the state’s security and foreign affairs.”

Gisha has also reported on the release in detail on its website, where the documents also are available. Gisha’s report begins:

After one and a half years in which Israel at first denied their existence and then claimed that revealing them would harm “state security”, the State of Israel released three documents that outline its policy for permitting transfer of goods into the Gaza Strip prior to the May 31 flotilla incident. The documents were released due to a Freedom of Information Act petition submitted by Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement in the Tel Aviv District Court, in which Gisha demanded transparency regarding the Gaza closure policy.  Israel still refuses to release the current documents governing the closure policy as amended after the flotilla incident.

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