Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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22 January 2020

Middle East

  • On 22 January, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) announced the start of the first training course in its programme “Awareness-Raising and Capacity-Building for Educational Institutions’ Staff to Eliminate Violence against Women”. The programme is implemented in cooperation with UNRWA to train teachers in UNRWA schools across the Gaza Strip.
  • On 20 January, Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP) issued a press release “Israeli Forces’ Transfer of Palestinian Child Detainees Amounts to War Crime”. DCIP outlined that at the end of December 2019, at least 186 Palestinian children between 14 and 17 years old were detained in the Israeli military detention system, with the overwhelming majority held in Ofer Prison in the West Bank or unlawfully transferred to Megiddo Prison inside Israel. DCIP underlined that Israel’s practice of unlawfully transferring Palestinian prisoners out of the Occupied Palestinian Territory constitutes a violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime in violation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
  • On 19 January, BADIL – Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights informed that the Palestinian National Campaign to Reject Politically Conditioned Funding had met to discuss developments related to the European Union’s “insistence on imposing nationally unacceptable political conditions within the grant contracts for civil society institutions.” BADIL denounced the European Union’s proposal to implement screening and vetting procedures regarding Palestinian civil society and called on the latter to not be drawn into negotiation of terms that may legitimize the EU lists and procedures.
  • On 18 January, ActionAid Palestine (AAP) launched a multi-channel awareness raising campaign “Challenge Discriminatory Attitudes and Practices relating to Young Women’s Economic Empowerment”, aimed at tackling unemployment among youth, building their professional capacities and promoting the economic resilience of their marginalized communities in eight neighbourhoods of Bethlehem and Hebron in the West Bank.


  • On 21 January, the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) informed that less than 4 per cent of Palestinian building permit applications were approved by Israel in Area C of the West Bank between 2016 and 2018, and that only 56 building permits were granted between 2018 and 2019, while 35 of those granted as part of a State plan to relocate Bedouins from the Al-Mintar neighbourhood in Sur Baher town, on the outskirts of East Jerusalem, were not implemented.

North America

  • On 29 January, the Columbia University Centre for Palestine Studies announced that the Cathedral of St. John the Divine would, on 20 March, host Professor Rashid Khalidi for a discussion about his new book “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonial Conquest and Resistance, 1917 – 2017”.
  • On 20 January, the Foundation for Middle East Peace hosted Aida Touma Sliman, a Member of the Israeli Knesset, who discussed a range of issues impacting Palestinian citizens of Israel.
  • On 20 January, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued its World Report 2020. In the Report’s chapter on Israel and Palestine HRW highlighted the closure of the Gaza Strip and Israel-imposed sweeping restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of the enclave, as well as Israel’s use of lethal force resulting in many deaths in the context of protests. HRW also spoke of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the difficulties in obtaining Israeli-issued building permits in East Jerusalem and Area C, and the Israeli practice of demolishing the homes of families in retaliation for attacks on Israelis allegedly carried out by a family member.

United Nations

  • On 21 January, UN Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East. She reiterated that all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, and the annexation of some or all of Area C, if implemented, “would deal a devastating blow to the potential of reviving negotiations, advancing regional peace, and the essence of the two-State solution.” On the Gaza Strip, she underlined that humanitarian and economic steps alone will not resolve Gaza’s immense challenges, as they are essentially political and require therefore political solutions. Palestinian leaders must take concrete steps to ensure the reunification of Gaza and the West Bank, while Israel must significantly improve the movement and access of goods and people to and from Gaza, in line with Security Council resolution 1860 (2009). She lauded the creation of youth platforms for cultural understanding and women’s demands of a greater role in their governments’ decision-making as an “inspiration to all of us to redouble our efforts towards a negotiated solution.”
  • Also on 21 January, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller delivered a briefing to the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. She highlighted how the operating space for humanitarian actors was constrained and how efforts to delegitimize humanitarian action in the OPT continued to undermine the UN ability to provide protection and assistance to people in need, in addition to record low funding levels. She encouraged Member States to support interventions under the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2020 that strengthen humanitarian-development collaboration and reduce Palestinians’ reliance on humanitarian aid.


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.