Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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16 November 2018

Middle East

  • On 15 November, Al Mezan and Adalah-The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel announced they will appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court after a lower court ruled that the State of Israel was not liable for the damages it caused in 2014 in the Gaza Strip. The court ruled that Gaza Palestinians were not entitled to seek compensation because they live in an “enemy entity.” A law enacted in 2012 banned Gaza residents from redress and remedy in Israel, regardless of the circumstances and the severity of injuries and damages being claimed.
  • On 15 November, Adalah-The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel reported that following a special request for action submitted by the NGO, four United Nations special rapporteurs have given Israel a 60-day deadline to respond to their grave concerns regarding the Jewish Nation-State Law, adopted by the Knesset on 19 July. The four rapporteurs are the one in charge of cultural rights; the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories; minority issues; and contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
  • On 14 November, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights issued a press release to denounce the decrease of the Palestinian fishing zone by a third. Israeli authorities informed the Palestinian Civil Liaison Office of the new limitations and that Palestinian fishermen would now be prohibited from accessing the waters between the demarcation line in the north of the Gaza Strip and Gaza City’s port. Al Mezan stressed that the new restrictions were in breach of international law and compounded the dire living conditions of the fishermen in Gaza.
  • On 14 November, Gisha- Legal Center for Freedom of Movement urged Israel to take action and remove restrictions on access to and from Gaza. After a ceasefire agreement was reached the day before between Israel and de facto Hamas authorities, Gisha warned that Gaza residents should not be used as pawns in political struggles.
  • On 12 November, Hamoked denounced the Israeli military for granting entry permits of less than two months to Palestinian farmers to harvest olives. The permits apply to Palestinians who own agricultural lands in the “Seam zone.” The farmer permits used to be granted for a period of two years. At the end of October, Hamoked submitted a complaint to the military regarding the inadequate handling of permits for agricultural purposes and the burden imposed on the Palestinians by tightening their policy on the matter.
  • On 12 November, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights met with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It was the first meeting held between Palestinian human rights organizations and the new High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet. The meeting served to discuss the blockade on Gaza and its impact on the lives of 2 million Palestinians as well as the escalation following the recent peaceful protests and the increase of settlement activities in Jerusalem and West Bank.


  • On 16 November, the International Crisis Group issued a report on “Rebuilding the Gaza Ceasefire.” The report examines the sporadic escalations between Israel and Hamas since 2007 and the widespread suffering among the Strip’s two million Palestinians. It assesses how the current ceasefire offers a pathway to breaking the current deadlock and what should be done by Hamas in terms of curbing attacks from Gaza; Egypt and Israel with regards to the Strip’s closure and supply of clean water, electricity and sanitation.
  • On 13 November, Amnesty International issued a statement following the escalation of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian armed groups in Gaza. The conflict is described as “the most serious fighting since the 2014-armed conflict.” The Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International said that that “under international humanitarian law, all sides in a conflict have a clear obligation to protect the lives of civilians caught up in the hostilities.”
  • On 13 November, the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) issued a press release after Israeli military broke the ceasefire with Palestinian factions. PRC expressed their concern of the Israeli attack, which comes at a time when “a wider attempt at reaching a long-term deal to improve the situation in Gaza was underway.”

North America

  • On 16 November, the Jerusalem Fund is holding the 2018 Palestine Center Annual Conference, entitled “The Palestinians at Historic Crossroads.” The Conference will address the recent developments, which mark a time of “unforeseen crises to Palestinian rights and sovereignty that were unimaginable a decade ago;” and provide analyses on new actions and approaches to navigate this crisis. The keynote speaker is Dr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN.
  • On 2 and 3 November, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) held, in partnership with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and “Know Thy Heritage”, the 20th Conference on “Together in Faith, Jerusalem: Our Collective Home,” in Washington, D.C. The conference addressed the question of Jerusalem from the perspective of the three Abrahamic faiths “in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.” In its own words, HCEF seeks to create a “legion of Diaspora leaders who are rooted in Palestinian culture, history, and traditions, and who are devoted to serving as Ambassadors of Peace.”

United Nations

  • On 28 November, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will hold a high-level meeting to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestine People, as well as closed consultations with Civil Society Organizations. On 29 November, the Committee in collaboration with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine will open a photo exhibit titled “Unrealized Rights, Unfulfilled Promises: 70 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the Palestinian People’s Nakba” in the Public Lobby of the General Assembly Building of the United Nations in New York.
  • On 15 November, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People recommended four draft resolutions for adoption at the General Assembly, to be voted on 30 November, during its annual general debate on the question of Palestine. The Committee also heard a briefing by Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, who highlighted the situation in Gaza as well as Israel’s sovereignty claim as being entrenched through annexation, with the integration of West Bank infrastructure into its domestic network.

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.