When an organization wants to submit an application [for a permit], [say] it wants a particular staff member to enter into Gaza, then there’s a particular format. It fills in a request form like you fill in for any office where you want to submit an application. You fill in your first name, you fill in your reason for wanting to enter, what organization you’re working for, entry dates, and all your details, a copy of your passport. All the documents that you could imagine could be needed, whether it’s forms that are related to your projects, or whether it’s a particular approval for the organization, and your whole identity in fact. All this you enter into a format that you send via email. It’s fed in, whether it has been submitted to the Shin Bet (see glossary) or not submitted to the Shin Bet, and if it has been, [its] status: pending, canceled or approved. And we also have a record of things going several years back. As long as its status is pending, it’s in our folder.
Applications that were held up for months by the Shin Ben – why [does this happen] in your opinion? There were some that [were approved] within days, and some that took months.One, sometimes there was a mess on our end in the office. Sometimes we would chase our own tail until we found out why the application wasn’t approved, what’s happening with its status. It could be because of applications that we couldn’t find the email for or their form and it was just, someone would call, and we would tell him, “Okay, its status is pending,” and we didn’t know where the application itself was… So sometimes we would ask them to submit it again, then their response would be, “We’ve already submitted it a second time,” so like we felt bad to ask, “Submit it again,” they’ve already been waiting so many months. It was confusing sometimes. Sometimes by the time we worked out that we can’t find the request – even though it had been entered into the computer – so either it’s somewhere and it’s waiting for Shin Bet approval, or it hasn’t been entered into the computer, and sometimes it’s just, in most cases it was just waiting a really long time for the Shin Bet.
I don’t understand then, the application wasn’t there, so they’ll continue to wait… forever?Then we would ask, but sometimes there was a situation where you’re just waiting for an answer from the Shin Bet, that’s most of the cases.