Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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14 December 2018

Middle East 

  • On 10 December, the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) awarded the “Human Rights Award of the French Republic” to B’Tselem and Al-Haq Executive Directors Hagai El-Ad and Shawan Jabarin, respectively. In the ceremony, El-Ad addressed the pressure exerted by the Israeli government on France’s decision-makers, saying, “The hysterical response by Israeli government officials, attempting to prevent this prize from being awarded, illustrates the reality within which we work: propaganda, lies, and threats […].”
  • On 10 December, Al-Haq issued an article “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Ongoing Nakba: 70 Years, Rights abuses, and Israeli impunity,” in commemoration of the UN General Assembly having adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948. The article highlights how UDHR, an important tool reflecting norms of customary international law, grants Palestinian refugees the right to return to their country and establishes the prohibition of discrimination, including in territories under “limitation of sovereignty” such as the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It also focuses on the lack of Israel’s accountability, considered as the key to ending violations against Palestinians.
  • On 10 December, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) published its annual position paper regarding the state of human rights in Israel, on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The paper indicates that “2018 was characterized by a well-planned effort to undermine various state institutions, to silence any criticism of the government, and to harm minority rights in Israel.” It focuses particularly on the advancing of legislation aimed at damaging the status or rights of the Arab minority in Israel and “blurring the legal boundary between the sovereign state of Israel and the occupied territories.”
  • On 10 December, as part of “16 Days of Activism Campaign to End Violence against Women and Girls,” the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) organized the workshop “Mechanisms of Providing Protection for Women subject to Violence,” in Gaza. The main recommendations of the workshop included better coordination and cooperation between civil society organizations providing services to women and the importance of access for affected women to the proper services.
  • On 9 December, Gisha- Legal Center for Freedom of Movement reported the concerns of Gazan farmers in the strawberry sector, as Gaza growers and suppliers met recently with Israeli officials at Erez crossing. They raised three main issues: a severe shortage in soil disinfectants and fertilizers, which Israel bans from entering Gaza; the lack of travel permits for farmers due to alleged security reasons; and the storage conditions at Kerem Shalom crossing. Gisha calls for Israeli authorities to respond to the “legitimate demands of growers and suppliers in Gaza.”
  • On 9 December, Adalah-The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel submitted a report on the lack of Israeli domestic accountability mechanisms to the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry examining 2018 protest in Gaza Strip. Adalah highlighted Israel’s “inaction and persistent unwillingness to conduct genuine investigations into grave incidents of suspected war crimes […];” and concluded that the “lack of a sound and functional domestic investigatory system in Israel upholds the culture of impunity that permeates all echelons of Israel’s military and civilian apparatus […].”


  • On 14 November, the Palestinian Return Centre issued a press release on their event in the British parliament on “70 years since UN Resolution 194”. The event was hosted and chaired by Labour MP Ruth Cadbury. The Chair of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and representative of Senegal to the UN, Ambassador Cheikh Niang, was among the speakers. He discussed the continued need for UN assistance to the Palestinian people and the possibility, through the Committee he chairs and UN resolutions, to support the cause of Palestinian refugees and bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

North America

  • On 12 December, Al-Shabaka- the Palestinian policy network published an article on “The Lobby-USA: Lessons for the Palestine Solidarity Movement”. The article covers Al-Jazeera’s undercover investigation into Israeli influence in the United States, a documentary that was completed in October 2017 and never aired but was subsequently leaked.

United Nations

  • On 10 December, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights office in the occupied Palestinian territories brought together diplomats and human rights defenders in Nablus and in Jhubbet-adh Dheeb to hear their experiences on the shrinking space for their work and to show solidarity with the NGO workers.


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.