NGO Action News – 2 December 2021

Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

Middle East

  • On 8 December, Al-Haq will organize a virtual side event, co-hosted by the State of Palestine, at the 20th Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on the topic “Obstructing Justice and Promoting Impunity: Israel’s Designation of Palestinian Civil Society Organisations as ‘Terrorist Organisations’”. During this event panellists will discuss on Israel ongoing intimidation campaign of human rights activists.
  • On 29 November, many organizations marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Among them, Al-Haq issued a statement highlighting the increase in measures taken by Israeli authorities against Palestinian civil society groups. Furthermore,
    Al Mezan published the report “The Gaza Bantustan – Israeli Apartheid in the Gaza Strip” linking the situation in the Gaza Strip to that of South African apartheid through a system of oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel. Association France Palestine Solidarité issued a statement calling for concrete actions to support the six Palestinian civil society groups recently designated as “terrorist organizations” by Israel.
  • On 25 November, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a statement to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. PCHR stressed that Palestinian women are suffering from conflict-related violence as well as gender-based violence, which lately increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying deterioration of the living, social and economic conditions, particularly in the Gaza Strip. On the same day, Al Mezan published a statement calling for duty bearers to respect and protect Palestinian women’s rights.
  • On 25 November, Adalah published a legal opinion on Israel’s decisions to designate six Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as “terrorist organizations” and “unlawful organizations”. In this opinion, Adalah analysed the two measures that the Israeli Defense Minister and the Israeli Military Commander used against the activity of Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations and called for the Israeli authorities to disclose all of the materials that they claim justified those decisions.
  • On 24 November, Peace Now published an article to inform that the Local Planning Committee of the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality approved a plan for the construction of 9,000 housing units in a new settlement in the old Atarot/Qalandiya airport north of Jerusalem. The plan is located at the heart of a densely populated Palestinian urban area and this decision is part of the preparations for the approval of the plan at the District Committee on 6 December.
  • On 22 November, HaMoked and Gisha filed a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice to demand that Israel allows Israelis over 18 years of age to maintain regular contact with their parents living in Gaza. The petition requests that this procedure, known as “divided families”, be amended to protect the basic right of Israeli residents and citizens to regular family life with their Gazan parents also after they become adults, except where it is precluded for individual security reasons.
  • On 22 November, Al-Haq sent a letter to the Gates Foundation criticizing the latter for establishing a partnership with Israel on climate change innovation. Al-Haq considers that such partnership with organizations and entities involved in systematic oppression of Palestinians and exploitation of natural resources is contrary to the core values and principles of human rights supported by the Gates Foundation.


  • On 26 November, the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine published a letter signed by over 100 European political parties, trade unions, human rights organisations and civil society groups sent to Josep Borell, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, outlining their grave concern over Israel’s decision to designate six Palestinian human rights NGOs as “terrorist entities”. The letter called on the European Union to be more actively supporting the targeted organizations and to formally ask the Israeli authorities to rescind this decision.

North America

  • On 29 November, Americans for Peace Now published the article “Hard Questions, Tough Answers: Gravitating toward a one-state ‘solution’”. In this article, independent security analyst Yossi Alpher discusses the growing support for a one-State solution among Palestinians in the West Bank, and the different political and economic approaches considered by Israeli political parties to reduce the risk of inter-ethnic frictions in the West Bank and conflict with Gaza.

United Nations

  • On 7 December, the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convey the virtual event “Supporting Human Rights Defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Reality, Challenges, and Obligations”. The speakers – Wessam Ahmad (Al-Haq), Saleh Higazi (Amnesty International), Michael Sfard (Human rights lawyer) and Omar Shakir (Human Rights Watch) – will brief on the varying dimension of the Israeli decision of 22 October 2021 to designate six Palestinian human rights and humanitarian NGOs as “terrorist organizations”. The event will be held in virtual format, from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm (NY time) via WebEx; it will be livestreamed on UNTV.
  • On 1 December, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) published an article informing that its Commissioner-General had called for support to prevent the collapse of the Agency during the UNRWA Advisory Commission meeting held on 29-30 November in Amman. The Commissioner-General warned against the impact of UNRWA’s chronic underfunding on the quality of critical services such as health, education and social safety net to the most destitute.
  • On 30 November, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question. Mr. Wennesland highlighted the severe fiscal and economic crisis threatening the stability of Palestinian institutions in the West Bank, the ongoing daily violence throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the high number of Palestinians arrests and injuries by Israeli security forces, as well as settlers’ violence and plans for settlement expansions. The Special Coordinator further recalled that that the Secretary-General has expressed concern about shrinking space for civil society around the world, including in Israel and the OPT.
  • On 29 November, the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People held the annual commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at UN Headquarters in New York with a special session of the Committee, including high-level Member States representatives. Similar events were held at UNOG, UNON, UNOV and UNICs around the world. UN Members States expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people, through messages by Heads of States and Government, as well as representatives of regional organizations, the Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, and activists, including Mohammed El Kurd.
  • On 24 November, the UN Conference on Trade and Development informed about the publication of the report “Economic costs of the Israeli occupation for the Palestinian people: poverty in the West Bank between 2000 and 2019”. According to this report, the cumulative economic cost of the tighter Israeli closure policy, restrictions and military operations in the West Bank since 2000 is estimated at US$ 57.7 billion. The report also calls for the lifting of all the mobility restrictions in the OPT and for the re-establishment of the contiguity of the territory by reconnecting East Jerusalem, all the cities and villages in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with each other.

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.



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