Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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1 April 2021

Middle East

  • On 1 April, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights informed about its participation in the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, which took place from 22 February to 24 March in a virtual format. Al Mezan said its advocacy efforts focused on three critical issues: ensuring accountability and justice for the Palestinian people, exposing Israel’s discriminatory policies against Palestinians and on access to Covid-19 vaccines, and raising awareness about the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip.
  • On 30 March, Al-Haq issued the press release “Land Day 2021: The Crimes of the Occupation and Dispossession of Palestinians Continue” to call for third states and the international community to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) “to ensure the arrest and transfer to The Hague of persons investigated and accused of international crimes, and to prevent the continued perpetration of international crimes against the Palestinian people.”
  • On 29 March, BADIL – Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights informed that it had submitted two statements to the 46th Sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, calling on the international community to stop the Israeli occupation and to ensure accountability for Israel’s crimes and human rights violations against the Palestinian people. The first statement “Looming Annexation and Settlement Construction: Tools Employed by Israel to Further Entrench its Domination, Subjugation and Exploitation of the Palestinian People and their Lands” was submitted under Agenda item 7 and the second, “The International Community Must Include Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Refugees’ Rights in its Accountability Framework and Measures”, under Agenda item 2.
  • On 26 March, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies informed that it had co-hosted, with civil society partners, the webinar “Israeli Health Apartheid During Covid-19” on the margins of the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. During the event Palestinian civil society representatives addressed the impacts of the global pandemic, which have brought Israel’s denial of the right to health to the Palestinian people into sharper focus.
  • On 25 March, Peace Now issued the report “From De Jure to De Facto Annexation – Construction in Settlements 2020”, which focused inter alia on the construction of new settlements outposts and the advancement of plans and tenders to upgrade the roads system for Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
  • On 25 March, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights issued a press release to condemn Israel’s revocation of Palestinian Foreign Minister’s travel permit after his recent travel to the ICC in The Hague. Al Mezan said the move was part of Israel’s systematic attacks on Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights defenders and organisations through arbitrary detention, travel bans, residency revocations and smear campaigns. The NGO called on the international community to support the ICC’s investigation into the situation in Palestine and to promote international justice for Palestinian victims and their families.
  • On 15 March, Yesh Din published the report “Ill-Gotten Gains: Theft of Palestinian land – declaring ‘state land’ where settlement of title was halted when Israel occupied the West Bank”. The report depicts a policy of land theft that is inseparable from the broader Israeli effort to increase Israeli control over land in the West Bank and retroactively authorize all illegal Israeli construction in the West Bank.

Europe

  • On 29 March, the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine reported that academics and researchers in countries participating in European research programmes had published an open letter criticizing the European Union for “the ongoing failure of the EU to ensure that research programmes are not used to legitimize or otherwise sustain the establishment and the activities of Israeli academic institutions in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT).” The signatories specifically highlighted the case of Ariel University in the occupied West Bank.
  • On 26 March, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) issued the press release “Settler violence surges in the void of lack of international action against settlements”, which calls on the international community to recognize and act against the increase in violent actions by Israeli settlers, and their role in enabling the Israeli illegal settlement enterprise in the OPT. LPHR affirms that while these acts may not be directly perpetrated by the Israeli state, the omission to effectively act against settler violence clearly emboldens its perpetuation, which seriously infringes on the basic human rights of protected persons, namely Palestinians, in the OPT.

North America

  • On 18 and 19 April, J Street will hold its annual national conference that “will assemble prominent political leaders, policymakers, activists and experts who are at the forefront of promoting Israel-Palestinian peace, opposing the dangers and injustices of occupation and shaping the future of American diplomacy.” Among the speakers will be Member of the Palestinian National Council Bashar Azzeh; Israeli MPs Nitzan Horowitz; Merav Michaeli and Ayman Odeh; former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert; former Israeli Ministers Yossi Beilin and Tzipi Livni; US Senators Tammy Duckworth, Jon Ossoff, Bernie Sanders, Raphael Warnock and Elizabeth Warren. Registration for the event, to be held in virtual format, can be accessed via the link above.
  • On 6 April, the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) will hold the webinar “Israeli and Palestinian Elections: Opportunities for Change or More of Same?” to discuss the recent Israeli and upcoming Palestinian elections – each on their own and how they relate to each other – with Hanan Ashrawi, long-time Palestinian leader, legislator and recently retired from the PLO’s Executive Council; Al Shabaka fellow Diana Buttu; editor Orly Noy, together with journalist Peter Beinart.

United Nations

  • On 7 April, the UN Palestinian Rights Committee will hold the virtual event “Delivering Critical Assistance for Palestine Refugees: Challenges and Opportunities in a Complex Context”, a panel briefing with Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and Ms. Gwyn Lewis, Director of UNRWA Operations West Bank, on the current situation of Agency and the Palestine refugees it supports. The event aims to strengthen international support for the rights of Palestinian refugees and mobilize political and financial support to UNRWA. Intergovernmental and civil society organizations as well as the public and media are be invited to follow the event on UNTV and pose questions via the Committee Facebook page, Twitter account, the email dpr-meeting@un.org and WhatsApp (+1 646 421 0579).
  • On 25 March, the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices issued a press release urging Israel to facilitate Covid-19 vaccines in the OPT. The Special Committee expressed concern over reports that Israel, while donating surplus Covid-19 vaccines overseas, has failed to ensure the vaccination of the Palestinian population in the OPT. It called on Israel, as an occupying Power, to urgently comply with its international legal obligations to ensure that Palestinians have access to available vaccines in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

 

This newsletter informs about recent and upcoming activities of Civil Society Organizations affiliated with the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The Committee and the Division for Palestinian Rights of the UN Secretariat provide the information “as is” without warranty of any kind, and do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, or reliability of the information contained in the websites linked in the newsletter.