Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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14 November 2019

Middle East

  • On 14 November, B’Tselem issued a report on the Israel Ministry of Interior’s demolition of houses in East Jerusalem built without permits. B’Tselem found that in 2019 Israeli authorities had demolished more Palestinian homes than in any other year in the past 15 years. From 2004 to 2018, Israeli authorities demolished 54 residential units per year on average; while by the end of September 2019 they had demolished 140 units.
  • On 14 November, Gisha – Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement reported that despite a ceasefire agreement in Gaza between Palestinian factions and Israel going into effect early that morning, Kerem Shalom Crossing remained closed for exit and entrance of goods to and from the Strip, other than for entrance of fuel destined for Gaza’s power plant, leading to significant financial losses for farmers and agricultural suppliers. Gisha also reported that the Erez Crossing remained closed as well, except for cancer patients and Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Gisha emphasized that Israel had an obligation to allow the continued provision of necessities to residents of Gaza and to protect their fundamental right to freedom of movement.
  • On 12 November, Oxfam Country Director for the Occupied Palestinian Territory Shane Stevenson applauded the EU Court of Justice ruling on labelling illegal Israeli settlements products, saying “It is an important step in the right direction for the Palestinian people carrying the burdens of settlement expansion. These settlements are illegal under international law. They are violating the rights and freedoms of Palestinians and further entrench poverty in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Consumers have a right to know the origin of the products they purchase, and the impact these purchases have on people’s lives.”
  • On 12 November, Peace Now praised the decision of the European Court of Justice to mandate the labelling of products from Israeli settlements. The group said, “Now is the time to call on businesses on the other side of the Green Line to come home and bring their activities into Israel […].” In its ruling on 12 November 2019, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) had stated that “Foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin, accompanied, where those foodstuffs come from an Israeli settlement within that territory, by the indication of that provenance. […] Consumers have no way of knowing, in the absence of any information capable of enlightening them in that respect, that a foodstuff comes from a locality or a set of localities constituting a settlement established in one of those territories in breach of the rules of international humanitarian law.”
  • On 6 November, Hamoked – Centre for the Defence of the Individual published the joint statement issued by 23 Israeli civil society organizations, including The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Adalah, Breaking the Silence, and Ir Amim, against the decision to deport Human Rights Watch representative Omar Shakir from Israel.

North America

  • On 20 November, Americans for Peace Now will co-host the breakfast meeting “A Constituency for Peace: Disrupting the Status Quo and Transforming Israeli-Palestinian Peacebuilding” in Los Angeles, featuring the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), a network of more than 100 coexistence and peacebuilding NGOs working with Israelis and Palestinians.
  • On 12 November, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) issued a press release to condemn the latest Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. JVP said that in the United States, “we must not just watch, yet again, as Israel’s massive military dominates and destroys Palestinian lives and livelihoods in Gaza. We must build on the recent commitments by Democratic presidential hopefuls to condition the over $3 billion a year that the U.S. provides to Israel’s military” to address Israel’s extrajudicial killings and attacks on civilians.
  • On 12 November, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Stop the Wall, and Eyewitness Palestine announced the organization of a delegation visit, themed “World Without Walls”, to Palestine and Israel for seven Indigenous, Black and Latino leaders in the immigration justice, anti-border wall and anti-militarism movements. During the visit, the delegates will share their experiences and tactics for resisting walls and border militarization with Palestinians resisting Israel’s Separation Wall.

United Nations

  • On 27 November, the United Nations in New York will observe the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977. Events to mark Solidarity Day will be also be held at UN offices in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi on 29th The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene a special meeting in the Trusteeship Council Chamber from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., which will be attended by the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council and representatives of Member States, among others. The opening of the exhibit “Palestine – The Most Universal of National Causes” will be held immediately afterwards in the Visitors Lobby of the UN General Assembly Building.
  • On 15 November, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967 has welcomed the 12 November 2019 ruling by the European Court of Justice which held that food products produced by Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory must indicate that they originate from a settlement, and not as a “product of Israel”. The Special Rapporteur said, “These settlements are illegal under international law. They are purported war crime under the Statute of Rome. So, at the very least, European consumers must have accurate information before them when they make purchasing choices” and that “the Court pointed out that the European Union has committed itself to the strict observance of international law.”
  • On 13 November, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov issued a statement on the situation in Gaza and Israel. He warned that the continuing escalation was “very dangerous” and it was yet “another attempt to undermine the efforts to improve the dire socio-economic conditions in Gaza and prevent another devastating conflict.”
  • On 8 November, UN human rights experts issued a press release to criticize a decision by the Israeli Supreme Court upholding the government’s decision to revoke the work visa of Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director of Human Rights Watch. The experts urged the Israeli government to withdraw the 2017 amendment to the Entry to Israel Law, and to allow peaceful critics of its policies to enter the country on the same basics as anyone else.


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.