Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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14 May 2020

Middle East

  • On 14 May, BADIL – Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights issued a statement on “The Unity and Struggle of the Palestinian People to End the Ongoing Nakba”. BADIL stated that “the reliance on international condemnation and fledgling political will has proven to be an ineffective strategy that has failed in stopping Israeli policies and practices of annexation, colonization, forcible transfer and displacement and apartheid in Mandatory Palestine” and that the implementation of a human rights-based approach dictated by international law that include Israel’s accountability was the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
  • On 14 May, Gisha – Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement provided an update on the situation at the Gaza Strip crossings, informing that residents have now been able to return to the Strip via the Rafah Crossing from Egypt for the first time since it had been closed in March as part of measures taken to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. Travel through Erez Crossing to/from Israel has been limited largely to patients with life-threatening illnesses unrelated to COVID-19. Gisha said it continued to urge Israel to lift ongoing access restrictions to ensure economic activity to the greatest possible extent and protect food security in the Strip.
  • On 14 May, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) concluded a training course on “Human Rights and Mechanisms to Promote the Right to Health”. The course was organized under the project “Promote, Respect and Fulfill the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health in the Gaza Strip” implemented in partnership with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and funded by the European Union.
  • On 11 May, Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel reported that it had petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to demand fair and equitable budgets for Arab municipalities for financial damages caused during the two months of the COVID-19 crisis. Adalah lamented that Israeli government policies have resulted in allocations to Arab local municipalities amounting to just 1.7 per cent of aid provided to all local municipalities nationwide, resulting in severe economic crises in Arab municipalities.
  • On 11 May, Al-Haq announced the publication of its report “Annexing a City: Israel’s Illegal Measures to Annex Jerusalem Since 1948”. The report seeks to highlight the legal status of the City of Jerusalem, as well as to outline Israel’s policies imposed on Palestinians in Jerusalem, which have changed the physical, social, economic, and cultural landscape of the city, and the effects such changes have had on the Palestinian population. It also illustrates how the shift in the United States’ policy on Jerusalem after December 2017 effectively green-lighted a number of illegal Israeli unilateral measures, including bills and laws, that aim to secure its full control over the City.
  • On 7 May, Hamoked – Centre for the Defense of the Individual sent an urgent petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice on behalf of several Palestinian women – Israeli citizens and residents – who are married to men from the Gaza Strip and live with them there. Hamoked informed that these women, who had left Gaza to visit relatives in Israel before the pandemic, have been unable to return to their homes in Gaza ever since because of the closure imposed on the Strip since March in an effort to curb the pandemic.


  • On 6 May, the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) addressed an open letter to the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell on the topic “EU Sanctions Needed Against Israel’s Illegal Annexation Plans”. ECCP called for immediate actions, including sanctions, in order to confront Israel’s “unilateralism, annexation, and land grabs.” The NGOs also called for concrete measures to be implemented by the EU and European Governments, including the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and exclusion of Israeli participants from EU Framework Programmes funded by European taxpayers.

North America

  • On 18 and 15 May, the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) and the Middle East Institute (MEI) are organizing a three-part webinar series “Annexation & What It Means: Views from the Ground & Around the World”. The series, co-moderated by FMEP’s Lara Friedman and MEI’s Khaled Elgindy, will engage leading voices from Israel and Palestine, in addition to US, European and Arab perspectives.
  • On 12 May, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published the article “Israel: Discriminatory Land Policies Hem in Palestinians”, in which it denounces the Israeli Government’s policy of boxing in Palestinians communities that extends beyond the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian towns and villages inside Israel. HRW stated that the policy discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel in favour of Jewish citizens, sharply restricting access to land for housing to accommodate natural population growth. HRW examined the cases of Jisr Al-Zarqa in the Haifa District, Qalansawa in the Central District and Ein Mahel in the Northern District

United Nations

  • On 18 May, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will host the online event “In Conversation with H.E. Mr. Mohammed Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of the State of Palestine” at 2.30 p.m. New York time. The Committee will hold an interactive conversation about recent political developments and the current situation in the State of Palestine.
  • On 1 May, the NGO Branch of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs announced that it is currently accepting applications from NGOs that wish to apply for ECOSOC consultative status. Complete applications must be received by 1 June 2020 if an NGO wishes to be considered by the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs this year.

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.