Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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22 March 2019

Middle East

  • On 19 March, Adalah- The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel called on the Israeli Supreme Court to revoke the authority of the Central Elections Committee to vet Knesset candidates and called for the Court to recognize that this committee cannot and should not vet requests to disqualify candidates or parties from running in national elections and therefore delegitimize representatives of the Arab public.
  • On 19 March, Al-Haq denounced the 25th International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) held by Israel in Tel-Aviv in February. The event, sponsored by Israel Ministry of Tourism and diverse Israeli travel agents and tour operators, featured illegal settlements on lands appropriated from both the OPT, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan. In its press release, Al-Haq warned tour operators, travel agents and businesses promoting settlement tourism as they may be “complicit in fuelling the furtherance of Israel’s unlawful settlement enterprise.”
  • On 18 March, B’Tselem issued a position paper explaining how Israel’s promise to investigate 11 incidents documented by the UN Commission of Inquiry was “mere propaganda.” B’Tselem head Hagai Al-Ad warned the head of the UN Commission that “a real change in Israeli policy will only take place if the international community demands it clearly and unequivocally, and if it stops allowing Israel to do no more than offer hollow promises of investigation.”
  • On 15 March, Al-Haq issued a press release about its briefing on “The Great Return March: One Year On” to the diplomatic community based in the OPT, including Member States of the UN Human Rights Council. The briefing, held jointly with the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), in Gaza on 13 March outlined Al-Haq and PCHR’s documentation of the Great Return March protests and the findings and recommendations of the UN Commission of Inquiry. Al-Haq and PCHR called on the diplomatic community to ensure accountability for Israel’s systematic violations against Palestinians and to guarantee their protection as they continue to exercise their right of peaceful assembly in the Gaza Strip.
  • On 14 March, Hamoked addressed a letter of protest to Israel’s Minister of Justice and the Attorney General against last-minute appointments of judges in the Appeals Tribunal for matters relating to immigration and the of status in Israel for non-Jews. Hamoked argues that these “hasty appointments” before a new government is formed were in violation to the law according to which a provisional government must “act with proper restraint worthy of the status of a retiring government.”

North America

  • On 14 March, The People’s Forum in New York hosted Ahmed Abu Artema, a Gazan activist who inspired the historic Great March of Return, along with scholar Jehad Abusalim and programme associate for the American Friends Service Committee’s Gaza Unlocked Campaign on their views on the future of grassroots organizing in Palestine and vision for just and lasting peace.  

United Nations

  • On 18 March, the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory presented its findings to the Human Rights Council. The Commission’s report scrutinises the Israel Defence Forces’ directives for the use of lethal force against the Palestinian protestors and found there was no justification for Israel’s killing and injuring of persons who posed no imminent threat of death or serious injury to those around them, including journalists, health workers and children. The Commission found that the Israeli security forces’ Rules of Engagement contributed to the unlawful actions.
  • On 18 March, Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour made introductory remarks, on behalf of the High Commissioner, during the Human Rights Council 40th Session, under Agenda Item 7 “human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and other occupied Arab territories”. He introduced four reports on the recurring violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in the OPT as perpetrated by Israel, the State of Palestine and the authorities in Gaza; the impact of continued settlement expansion on the human rights situation in the OPT and the significant rise in settler violence; the accountability for violations of international law by all parties; and on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan.
  • On 18 March, UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk issued a report on Israel’s exploitation of Palestinian resources for its own use and presented the latter as a direct violation of Israel’s legal responsibilities as an occupying power. The report, focusing on the impact of the occupation on the environment and natural resources, said people living under occupation should be able to enjoy the full panoply of human rights enshrined in international law, in order to protect their sovereignty over their natural wealth. Furthermore, it expressed serious concerns about Israel’s practice of disposing of hazardous waste in so-called “sacrifice zones” in the 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.