Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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23 July 2020

Middle East

  • On 22 July, B’Tselem issued the update “B’Tselem Investigation: Settlers Assault Palestinians and File False Reports Against Them; Military Arrests the Victims” documenting two cases of Israeli settler violence in the Ramallah district in March and April 2020. B’Tselem reported that settlers not only injured Palestinians and damaged their property, but also alleged that the victims had been the ones to attack them.
  • On 22 July, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights announced it had concluded its collaborative efforts with civil society at the Human Rights Council’s 43rd and 44th sessions in Geneva the previous week by calling for the Council and its Member States to acknowledge and counter Israel’s systematic, deep-rooted policies and practices that violate international law. Al Mezan said it took the floor on behalf of 43 organizations from around the world to call on States “to live up to their responsibility to bring Israel’s illegal closure of Gaza to an end and to uphold the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and return.”
  • On 21 July, Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel informed that it had submitted a 30-page report to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts detailing Israel’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its negative impact on the human rights of Palestinians in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory. Adalah presented 11 major findings in its reports to the UN experts, including Israel’s excessive use of government-decreed emergency regulations, discrimination in access to medical services, education and financial support, and delayed, limited health-related information in Arabic.
  • On 17 July, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies reported it coordinated the webinar “The Price of Impunity: How Israel Uses Collective Punishment as a Tool of Domination” on 14 July with Palestinian NGOs with the participation of UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Michael Lynk. The webinar served to address Israel’s illegal policy of withholding bodies, arbitrary detention, collective punishment against Palestinian prisoners and their families, residency revocation and punitive house demolitions.
  • On 15 July, Peace Now denounced the Israeli civil administration in the occupied West Bank after it had halted the construction of a Covid-19 testing site in Hebron. Recalling that about two months ago the Jerusalem police closed a Covid-19 testing station in the Silwan neighbourhood, Peace Now stated that there was no Israeli interest in preventing the construction of the site adjacent to the crowded urban area of Hebron and “such an outrageous action” harms “this large population during the global health crisis.”

Europe

  • On 15 July, Amnesty International announced that, as part of an ongoing international campaign, its campaigner on Israel and the OPT Laith Abu Zeyad planned to address the UN Human Rights Council about the travel ban imposed on him by the Israeli authorities since October 2019 for undisclosed security reasons.

North America

  • On 23 July, Americans for Peace Now is organizing the webinar “Annex and Dispossess: Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran on her New Report”, in which the Director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch team will lay out the way in which Israeli authorities use the Absentee Property Law in areas that had been annexed by Israel and assess the ways it could be used for further dispossession of Palestinians in the West Bank once annexation is implemented , particularly in the Jordan Valley.
  • On 16 July, J Street issued the press release “Statement on Democratic Party Platform’s Draft Language on Israel/Palestine”, which its President Jeremy Ben-Ami stated that “[h]eading into the most important election in our lifetimes, it is important for the Democratic party to unite behind a popular common vision of principles, diplomacy-first foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond” and called for that vision to include an explicit commitment to Palestinian rights.

United Nations

  • On 28 July, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in collaboration with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, will hold the first part of the 2020 International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem on “Annexation in Practice – Palestinian Lives in Jerusalem”. The event, which will be livestreamed on UN Web TV on 28 July at 10.00 NY time, will consist of three speakers – Maha Abdallah (Cairo Institute for Human Right Studies), Hagit Ofran (Peace Now) and Osamah Khalil (University of Syracuse) – who will highlight Israel’s decades-long illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and the lived reality of Palestinian Jerusalemites under this regime.
  • On 21 July, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. He stated that it was not enough to restate our opposition to annexation and that we should discuss what can and must be done to improve the situation on the ground, preserve the prospect of a two-State solution, increase the chances of meaningful negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the conflict and protect these efforts from spoilers. He reiterated the Secretary-General’s call to the members of the Middle East Quartet, the Arab countries, the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to urgently re-engage, as these types of discussions have been dormant for too long, allowing both parties to move further apart along diverging paths.
  • On 17 July, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Occupied Since 1967 Michael Lynk called on Israel to immediately stop all actions amounting to collective punishment of the Palestinian people. He stated, “It is an affront to justice and the rule of law to see that such methods continue to be used in the 21st century and that Palestinians collectively continue to be punished for the actions of a few […],” adding that “it was disheartening that the demolition of Palestinian homes is still viewed by the Israeli political and legal leadership, including the Israeli High Court, as a permissible deterrent.”

 

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.