Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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1 August 2019

Middle East

  • On 24 July, B’Tselem denounced the IDF’s open-fire regulations that are in use against demonstrators at the Gaza fence. Human rights groups had earlier challenged these regulations in the High Court of Justice, which upheld the Israeli Government’s defence. However, following recent news coverage showing the military had been aware of the lethal effects of its regulations, the military is now revising them. The NGO expressed its regret this had not been done much sooner and stated that “the decision to change the regulations only now, after more than a year […] shows that the military consciously chose not to regard those standing on the other side of the fence as humans.”
  • On 25 July, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council and the Palestine Non-Governmental Organizations Network released a statement condemning the demolitions in Sur Bahir. In the statement they called on third States, inter alia, “to ensure respect for international humanitarian law in the OPT, and to […] hold Israel, the Occupying Power, accountable.”
  • On 25 July, Al-Haq welcomed the adoption of “Draft Principles on the Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts” by the International Law Commission of the UN General Assembly. The principles have implications for the NGOs’ advocacy work in the OPT, especially when it comes to business and human rights. The principles address the responsibility of Occupying Powers for environmental harm. They also recognize that this harm is often caused by corporations acting under leases awarded by Occupying Powers.
  • On 26 July, BADIL and LAYLAC organised the Al-Awda (“The Return”) school for Palestinian children, with lectures and activities aimed at raising awareness of Palestinian history, refugees, and internally displaced persons.
  • On 29 July, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights organized a workshop on the drug shortage crisis in the Gaza Strip. During the workshop the shortage and its impact on patients’ health were discussed and recommendations were formulated to mitigate the situation.
  • On 30 July, Addameer issued an appeal for support to Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, protesting against administrative detention, suggesting a number of measures sympathisers could take to show solidarity with detainees. There are around 20 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike at the moment and the NGO stated that “the policy of administrative detention is used against Palestinians as a form of repression and collective punishment.”
  • On July 30, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reported on its participation in the 3rd Arab Regional Conference that had been organised by the League of Arab States in Egypt in cooperation the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 28 and 29 July. During the conference, which discussed human rights in the Arab world, the Centre presented on the different human rights issues that the Palestinian population faces in the occupied territory.
  • On 31 July, Al-Haq welcomed the decision of the Federal Court of Canada determining that wines produced in settlements in the OPT could not be labelled as “Made in Israel.” The court cited the consumers’ right to make well informed decisions as well as protecting the freedom of expression. Al-Haq further called on Canada to “prohibit the import of settlement goods and services entirely.”


  • On 26 July, the International Federation for Human Rights published an appeal condemning “the smearing campaign and death threats against Mr. Shawan Jabarin, General Director of the Palestinian NGO Al-Haq.” The appeal further requested that interested parties write to the Israeli authorities to show their support for Mr. Jabarin.
  • On 26 July, the Palestinian Return Centre released a fact sheet detailing the Israeli court-sanctioned demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem in Sur Bahir. The organisation stated that “a major concern among […] activists lies in the fact that the Israeli court verdict sets an alarming precedent for all homes belonging to Palestinian residents that are located in the vicinity of the illegal separation barrier.”

United States

  • On July 30, J Street reported that over 300 rabbis and cantors had released a public letter calling on all federal and state legislators to defend the free speech of all Americans by opposing any efforts to pass legislation penalizing supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

United Nations

On 26 July, Leilani Farha, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, and Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967 called on Israel to halt the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. This statement came in response to the demolition of buildings in the Sur Bahir area. According to the rapporteurs it “is part of a larger pattern of home demolitions occurring in the West Bank.”

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.