you shall dispossess all the inhabitants of the land; you shall destroy all their figured objects; you shall destroy all their molten images, and you shall demolish all their cult places. Numbers 33:52 (The Israel Bible™)
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which oversees entry permits for Palestinian residents of the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip, does not keep track whether Palestinian permit holders return home, the pro-Israel watchdog organization Im Tirtzu discovered this week.
The bombshell discovery was unearthed after Im Tirtzu’s Legal Division submitted a request for information to COGAT via 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 stated.
COGAT further reported to Im Tirtzu that from 2014 to 2019, it granted 2,645,696 entry permits to residents of the Palestinian Authority, and an additional 335,807 permits to residents of the Gaza Strip.
Responding to Im Tirtzu’s inquiry of how many Palestinians who entered Israel via an entry permit were involved in acts of terrorism, COGAT stated that only the Israel Police has a record of this information.
According to Im Tirtzu, the Israel Police has yet to respond to their inquiry on this matter.
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.
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).
Of the more than 335,000 entry permits provided to residents of the Gaza Strip, 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.
“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,” said Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg.
“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,” said Peleg.