Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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21 June 2019

Middle East

  • On 20 June, Al-Haq reported to their participation to the 8th Annual Summit on Human Rights in the Digital Age, held in Tunis on 11-14 June. Al-Haq participated in the session “The Palestinian Cause for Digital Freedom” organized by The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media. The NGO presented on the widespread and systematic violations committed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), and stressed the importance of human rights work and the monitoring and documentation of human rights abuses in Palestine, including violations of the rights to freedom of expression and association; as well as on the continued shrinking space for human rights organizations in Palestine and the “smear campaign” targeting Al-Haq and its staff, led by semi-governmental Israeli organizations and the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs.
  • On 19 June, Al-Haq rejected the claims made by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs on their successful closure of 30 financial accounts in Europe and the United States, associated with Palestinian NGOs, and allegedly including those of Al-Haq. The NGO claimed that the Ministry’s statement is part of the Israeli government’s “undisclosed economic and propaganda campaign aimed at attacking and silencing peaceful Palestinian organizations.” Al-Haq reiterated that “the targeted attacks on it and its staff have not affected Al-Haq’s funding or funders’ commitments of support.”
  • On 18 June, Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement reported that Israel removed the ban on access to “fishing zone” it enforces in Gaza’s sea space. Gisha said it was the 16th change Israel had made to the demarcation of Gaza’s fishing zone since the beginning of the year and the 9th in less than a month. Gisha stated that Israel’s frequent changes to the demarcation of the fishing zone lead to even greater uncertainty for the thousands of Gazans whose livelihoods depend on access to the sea, and harm Gaza’s already frail economy.
  • On 18 June, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) testified before the United Nations Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting Human Rights of Palestinian People and Other Arabs of Territories Occupied in 1967 in Amman. PCHR’s testimony reviewed the human rights situation in the OPT. PCHR reported on Israel’s violations during the recent Great March of Return demonstrations; Israel’s violations against civilians and buildings in the Gaza Strip during the month of May; the closure policy imposed by Israeli forces on the Gaza Strip; the living conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails; and the role of Israeli judiciary in covering the violations of Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians.
  • On 17 June, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights organized a workshop in Gaza for Palestinian fishermen to raise awareness on their protection as per international humanitarian law. Al Mezan trainers stressed on the obligations of Israel, as an occupying power, under international law, with regards to “the denial of access to Palestine’s natural resources and the undue restrictions that make up the closure and blockade and prevent the entry of materials to repair boats with.”

Europe

  • On 20 June, the Palestinian Refugee Centre (PRC) issued a statement on the occasion of World Refugee Day to “remind them the international community of the estimated 7 million Palestine refugees displaced inside and outside their homeland.” PRC called on the European Union to condemn the Bahrain Workshop and to “step up its efforts to pressure Israel to end its unlawful occupation of Palestinian territories and to recognize the rights of Palestine refugees to return, restitution and compensation.”

North America

  • On 11 June, Mossawa Center, the Foundation for Middle East Peace and the Arab American Institute co-hosted the panel discussion “The Deal of the Century: What about Palestinian citizens of Israel?” The experts focused on civil rights violations in Israel, the impact of the recent elections, the Jewish Nation-State Law and the upcoming “deal of the century”, which has already been treated with much skepticism by Arab leaders and the wider community in both Israel and the United States. Mossawa called on progressive actors in the United States to work together to promote human rights and pluralism in Israel, emphasizing the need to promote inclusion and democracy within Israel to overcome the political stalemate in the peace process.

United Nations

  • On 27 and 28 June, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), with support from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, will convene the International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem “Preserving the cultural and religious character of Jerusalem” at the United Nations Office at Geneva. The Conference, which will bring together Palestinian, Israeli and international experts, representatives of the diplomatic community and civil society, will address the issue of Israel’s policies and measures aimed at changing the character of Jerusalem and seek to formulate concrete recommendations for the preservation of a City, considered sacred by three religions.
  • On 20 June, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov, during the briefing to the Security Council on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016), reiterated that the Resolution called on Member States to “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied in 1967” and for “all parties to continue inter-alia, to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations.” The Special Coordinator noted that “no credible efforts have been made in this direction.” Among the observations he addressed were the issue of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem, which undermines the viability of the two-State solution; the increase of demolitions orders issued against Palestinian-owned structures in Area C; the situation in Gaza and attacks on civilian population; and the need to restore the revenue transfers in full.

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.