Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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22 February 2019

Middle East

  • On 20 February, Al-Haq sent a submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, calling to focus on the connection between the Israeli manufacturers of surveillance equipment and the Israeli authorities, and publish the UN Database on Business Enterprises with Activities in and Relationships with Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Al-Haq also called on businesses to respect human rights and conduct enhanced due diligence before operating in conflict-affected areas, and on all the states to stop importing weapons and surveillance equipment from Israel.
  • On 18 February, Al-Haq announced that it has sent letters to the President and CEO of Bombardier in Canada, and the President of Bombardier Transportation in Germany, putting them on notice of Bombardier’s potential complicity in war crimes in the OPT. Al-Haq warned the Bombardier International that by providing goods and services that could be utilized in the commission of international crimes, such as the Israel new train from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv traversing the OPT, it could be aiding the commission of war crimes.

Europe

  • On 14 February, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) published a press release in which the NRC, along with Oxfam and Save the Children, warned that hundreds of civilians, including children, would see their safety put at risk by the withdrawal of international observers deployed in the city of Hebron. The groups called on the Israeli government and the international community to take additional steps to support international protective presence in Hebron.

North America

  • On 27 February, the Columbia University Centre for Palestine Studies will organise the event “Permanent Occupation? Human Rights in Israel/Palestine in the Trump/Netanyahu Era”, hosted by the Israel and Palestine Director of Human Rights Watch, Omar Shakir.
  • On 20 February, Americans for Peace Now (APN) condemned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for embracing the extremist right-wing political party Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Power”) into his election platform, and called on the other American Jewish organizations to join it in the condemnation.

United Nations

  • On 14 February, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced the conclusion of the “Strengthening Psychological Support for Palestine Refugees in Lebanon” project funded by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Beirut. The goal of the project was to empower and enhance the resilience of adult and child Palestine refugees through community engagement, participation and family/parent support.
  • On 20 February, Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, and Ursula Mueller, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs briefed the Security-Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. Mr. Mladenov underscored the need to prevent an economic and humanitarian implosion in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, noting that the spectres of violence and radicalism in the OPT were at a rise and the prospect of sustainable peace was fading by the day. Ms. Mueller also described the “rising vulnerability” of Palestinians in Gaza, with salaries for public sector employees reduced or withheld, including in the health and education sectors.

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.