“We do not have any procedure for supervising or ensuring the return of a permit holder to his or her place of residence,” COGAT said.
By World Israel News Staff
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has acknowledged that it has no “procedure” to ensure that Palestinians who enter Israel with a permit do not stay in the Jewish State unsupervised instead of returning to their homes, according to Im Tirtzu, an Israel-based Zionist organization.
COGAT oversees the process of granting entry permits to residents of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Im Tirtzu says that it made the “bombshell discovery” after its legal department submitted a request for information to COGAT in the framework of the Freedom of Information Law about the types and numbers of entry permits granted to Palestinians.
“We do not have any procedure for supervising or ensuring the return of a permit holder to his or her place of residence,” COGAT replied, according to the group.
Figures from the Israeli coordinator’s office show that from 2014 to 2019, 2,645,696 entry permits were granted to residents of the Palestinian Authority and an additional 335,807 were handed out to residents of the Gaza Strip, Im Tirtzu says.
Furthermore, responding to a question on how many Palestinians who entered Israel via an entry permit were involved in acts of terrorism, COGAT stated that “only the Israel Police has record of this information.”
However, the Israel Police has yet to respond to its inquiry on this matter, says the organization.
“Of the 2.6 million entry permits provided to residents of the Palestinian Authority, COGAT reported that 310,506 were work permits; 263,815 for escorting patients; 239,705 for medical needs; 236,875 for general trips; and 196,965 for visiting families on holidays,” Im Tirtzu continues.
It add that “other entry permits included permits for visiting security prisoners (53,596), Friday prayer permits (46,469), permits to travel abroad (21,410), permits for family reunifications (16,542), and business permits (9,836).”
As for residents of the Gaza Strip, “of the more than 335,000 entry permits provided to , the most were granted for medical needs (62,642), escorting patients (57,925), and for business (28,227).
“COGAT also granted Gazans 21,394 permits to travel abroad, 19,511 permits to pray on the Temple Mount, 7,410 permits for Friday prayers, and 7,738 for Christian holidays.”
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg stated, “A reality in which no one is tracking whether a resident of the Palestinian Authority or the Gaza Strip who received an official permit from the State of Israel returned home is horrendous.
“It’s inconceivable that Israel’s security agencies are operating with an ‘everything will be okay’ attitude while providing hundreds of thousands of one-way entry permits. This is a gamble on the lives of Israeli citizens, and the procedure needs to be changed immediately.”
World Israel News tried contacting COGAT for more details but has not received a response to date.