Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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12 September 2019

Middle East

  • On 11 September, Al-Haq delivered a joint oral intervention on Gaza at the UN Human Rights in Geneva on behalf of a group of Palestinian and regional human rights organizations, including Al-Haq, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), BADIL and Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. The organizations highlighted their serious concerns over the ongoing deterioration in the Gaza Strip as a result of 12 years of blockade by Israel. They urged the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to set a clear time frame for the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in Gaza, and for UN Member States to support an investigation into the situation in Palestine by the International Criminal Court.
  • On 6 September, Al-Marsad – Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights, Cornell Law School International Human Rights Clinic and Al-Haq sent a joint submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ahead of Israel’s periodic review. The purpose of the submission was to shed light on Israel’s infringement on the rights of the Palestinian and Syrian people in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) and Golan to self-determination and permanent sovereignty over natural resources. The NGOs recommended that the Committee call on Israel to “ensure the genuine consent of the occupied populations in the OPT and Golan before engaging in any projects that extract their resources; including by holding extensive and effective consultations.”
  • On 6 September, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) issued its August 2019 Demolition and Displacement Report, highlighting the repeated demolitions of Al-Araqib, an unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev. It stated that all the listed demolitions and confiscations were carried out on the grounds of lacking Israeli-issued building permits and that most of the demolished structures supported agricultural, herding and commercial livelihoods.
  • On 4 September, Gisha – Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement issued a report on unemployment in Gaza in the second quarter of 2019, noting that it had risen by 0.4% and now stands at 46.7%. The figures reflect a drop in the women workforce compared to 2018, an increase in the unemployment gap between Gaza and the West Bank and a decrease in the number of jobs in the agriculture and fishing sectors.

North America

  • On 10 September, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) issued a statement in response to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s election campaign pledge to annex parts of the West Bank, pointing out that the pledge came at the expense of justice, rights and equality for Palestinians and also condemning the recent surge in demolitions in East Jerusalem’s Wadi Hummus neighbourhood.
  • On 10 September, Americans for Peace Now called on the US Government, Congress, and fellow US Jewish organizations to act to prevent Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu from carrying out his declared intention to annex wide swaths of the West Bank immediately after the 17 September Israeli elections. The NGO stated that such a step would likely destroy future efforts for a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian peace.

United Nations

  • On 11 September, UNRWA Commissioner-General Krähenbühl called for urgent political and financial support to UNRWA at the 152nd session of the Council of Arab Foreign Ministers, while highlighting the work of UNRWA as vital for a just and lasting solution to the plight of Palestine refugees, in the run-up to the renewal of the Agency’s mandate in November.
  • On 11 September, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated that he was concerned by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement declaring his intention, if elected, to annex the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea as a first step to applying Israeli sovereignty over all settlements and other areas in the occupied West Bank. The Secretary-General warned that such steps would constitute a serious violation of international law and would be devastating to the potential of reviving negotiations and regional peace, while severely undermining the viability of the two-State solution.


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.