Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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21 September 2018

Middle East

  • On 20 September, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemned the unrelenting use of lethal and other excessive force by the Israeli military, including sharpshooters, to police demonstrations. Al Mezan stressed that the right to peaceful assembly and free expression are fundamental rights and must be respected.
  • On 18 September, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned the killings by Israeli forces of 4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and the wounding of 44 others on 17 September, and called on the ICC Prosecutor to open an official investigation.
  • On 17 September, Peace Now reported that construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory had increased with 794 new apartments built in the second quarter of 2018, compared to only 279 in the first quarter. Citing Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics data on construction starts in Israel and the West Bank, Peace Now also noted that in the first half of 2018, construction began on 1,073 settlement housing units, compared to 870 in the first half of 2017, further undermining chances for peace and a two-State solution.
  • On 17 September, 25 civil society organisations issued a letter urging the ICC Prosecutor to urgently open an investigation into the situation in Palestine and end Israeli impunity. They stated that since the opening of the preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine at the ICC, Israeli forces have killed more than 550 Palestinians and injured thousands of others. The CSOs called on the ICC to speed up its processes and move into the investigation stage.
  • On 16 September, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights issued a statement condemning the Israeli artillery strike on Abu T’aima School in the Gaza Strip, operated by UNRWA. Al Mezan urged the international community to take effective steps to pressure Israeli authorities to comply with legal obligations to refrain from attacking civilian infrastructure and to provide protection for Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

United Nations

  • On 20 September, the President of the Human Rights Council announced the appointment of Santiago Canton of Argentina to serve as a member and chairperson of the Council-mandated Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Commission is mandated to “investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018.”
  • On 20 September, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov, briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East. He warned that current trends were jeopardizing the possibility of a two-State solution and urged the international community to step in and change the grave trajectory. Mr. Mladenov spoke of Israel’s continued military occupation of Palestinian territory and settlement activities; uncertainties about the future of the peace process and the two-state solution; and Hamas’ continued hold on Gaza and its militant activity, as developments that continued to complicate the situation on the ground.
  • On 20 September, UNDP, UN Women and UNICEF in partnership with the Palestinian Government, launched a joint programme “Sawasya II” to advance the rule of law and access to justice across the State of Palestine. The joint programme builds on a number of development projects and programmes previously implemented by the three UN agencies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in addition to being fully aligned with the Palestinian National Policy Agenda 2017-2022.
  • On 17 September, the European Union and UNRWA celebrated the graduation of 86 Palestinian students, who had received EU scholarships, from universities in Lebanon. Since 2005, the European Union has contributed approximately EUR 12.5 million to support more than 600 beneficiaries through the UNRWA scholarships program.
  • On 16 September, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov denounced Israel’s intention to demolish Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar/Abu Al-Helu as “contrary to international law” and warned that the action “could undermine the chances for the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.” He called on Israeli authorities not to proceed with the demolition and to cease efforts to relocate Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank.

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.