Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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24 May 2019

Middle East

On 23 May, Palestinian civil society organizations, including the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC), Palestinian Non-Governmental Organisations Network (PNGO), Addameer, Al-Haq, BADIL, Centre for Defence of Liberties and Civil Rights, issued a joint statement in response to the German Parliament’s recent anti-BDS resolution. The statement asserts that the resolution constitutes an infringement of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and of association, enshrined in the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. The civil society representatives warned Germany that, “should it proceed to pass this resolution into a legally binding instrument, this would further threaten the relationship between Palestinian and German civil society.”

  • On 23 May, Gisha – Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement condemned Israel’s decision to again reduce the fishing zone off Gaza’s shores to 10 nautical miles. Gisha called on Israel to desist from these punitive measures and refrain from harming the livelihoods of fishermen in the Strip.
  • On 22 May, Mossawa Centre – The Advocacy Centre for Arab Citizens in Israel issued a press release to denounce the 2003 Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, known as the “temporary order”, which continues to deny citizenship and permanent residency to the spouses of Israeli citizens from the OPT or other proclaimed “enemy nations” of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq or Iran. The Mossawa Centre demanded the immediate suspension of the discriminatory temporary order, considered as “an oppressive policy” violating the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.
  • On 21 May, Al-Haq received, in Ramallah, a delegation of Chilean Members of Parliament from different political parties, media and representatives of the Palestinian community in Chile. The visit was to brief the delegation on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and the latest developments on the ground. During the meeting, Al-Haq commended the efforts of the Chilean Parliament in supporting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People and for its adoption of a resolution on the prohibition of goods from Israeli settlements built illegally on Palestinian land.
  • On 21 May, Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel issued a press release to announce Israel’s plan to return 65 boats to Gaza fishermen following a petition filed to the Israeli Supreme Court by Adalah, Gisha – Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights on behalf of a Gaza fisherman whose boat was seized by the Israeli Navy in September 2016.
  • On 20 May, B’Tselem issued an update on Israel’s restrictions of movement of Palestinians in the West Bank for the months of March and April. The reporting period was marked by the closure of access roads to four Palestinian villages, based on allegations that young men from the area had thrown stones at Israeli vehicles on local roads. B’Tselem called the closure a collective punishment in disregard for the needs of the residents.

Europe

  • On 23 May, the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) condemned the recent statement by the Israeli delegation at the UN and by the United States envoy Jason Greenblatt during the UN Security Council briefing on the Middle East. The PRC called on governments to reject the United States’ suggestion that UNRWA should cease to operate and to support its existence until the Palestinian right to return is fully implemented.

United Nations

  • On 22 May, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov delivered a statement during the briefing to the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East. He urged all sides “to use this period [of cessation of hostilities] to reduce tensions, solidify the fragile calm and commit to implementing the understandings that have been established in the past few months.” He spoke of a “worrying move” of the Israeli High Court of Justice, which recently issued a military order to accelerate the demolition of new structures built without permits in Area C of the West Bank. Taking note of the invitation by the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain to convene government, civil society, and business leaders to discuss the potential for economic investments and initiatives that would be made possible by a future Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement and a solution to the final status issues, he stated that “Humanitarian and economic support is very important for people, and it is also critical as for creating an environment conducive for viable negotiations. However, the solution to the conflict remains fundamentally political.”
  • On 22 May, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl delivered a statement to the Security Council from Gaza. He called on all partners to repeat their generous support and preserve the “successful dynamic” created in 2018, in light of the upcoming pledging conference in New York on 25 June. He stressed the need to preserve UNRWA’s services, particularly in health care and education, as a “crucial contribution in terms of human dignity and regional stability.” The Commissioner-General added, “It is political inaction – not the action of humanitarian organizations – that perpetuates conflicts” and that UNRWA was not mandated to deal with the politics of the region, but rather “with increasingly severe humanitarian and human consequences of this enduring conflict.”

Upcoming Events

  • On 27 and 28 June, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), with support from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, will convene the International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem “Preserving the cultural and religious character of Jerusalem” at the United Nations Office at Geneva. The Conference, which will bring together Palestinian, Israeli and international experts, representatives of the diplomatic community and civil society, will address the issue of Israel’s policies and measures aimed at changing the character of Jerusalem and seek to formulate concrete recommendations for the preservation of a City, considered sacred by three religions.

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.