Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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25 June 2020

Middle East

  • On 28 June, Ir Amim will host the discussion “From ‘United’ Jerusalem to Greater Jerusalem” featuring East Jerusalemite civil society and justice activist Nivine Sandouka and Israeli Professor Menachem Klein. The discussion, which will be moderated by Ir Amim’s Coordinator of International Public Outreach Rachel Schwartz, will look into how the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 can inform on for the proposed annexation in 2020.
  • On 24 June, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights issued a press release to denounce the Israeli military court’s lenient sentence of an Israeli soldier for the shooting of a Palestinian fisherman, requesting that charges and a sentence commensurate with the gravity of the crime – which the NGO described as an “act of willful killing.” Al Mezan stated that these proceedings were testament to the manner on which the Israeli justice system, including its military courts, shields state actors from genuine accountability.
  • On 24 June, Peace Now issued the report “Cabinet ‘approved’ 700 units for Palestinians last year – in practice only 6 were” in reference to Israel’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s announcement of approval of building permits for Palestinians in Area C of the occupied West Bank. Peace Now informed about its examination of the work of the Civil Administration Licensing Subcommittee, which had revealed that in nine meetings since the 30 July 2019 Cabinet resolution, one building permit was approved for six housing units and four building plans have been approved for 20 additional housing units, while dozens of other Palestinian requests for permits were rejected.
  • On 18 June, Al-Haq and Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies delivered an oral joint intervention entitled “Urgent Debate on Racism” at the 43rd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council. The Palestinian organizations spoke of their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in calling for an end to systemic racism and in “the struggle against colonial dispossession […] and the long history of Black-Palestinian solidarity.” In recognizing the “inter-connectedness of anti-colonial struggles around the world,” the NGOs endorsed the calls for the creation of a commission of inquiry into systemic racism and police brutality.

Europe

  • On 18 June, the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) issued a press release to denounce the European Parliament’s consent to the ratification of the EU-Israel Aviation Agreement, despite the fact that the EU ostensibly opposes Israel’s annexation of Palestinian land, with Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell saying that the annexation “cannot pass unchallenged.” ECCP stated that the EU must impose sanctions on Israel – as member states once did against apartheid South Africa – including a military embargo on Israel, a ban on trade with illegal settlements and the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

North America

  • On 24 June, Americans for Peace Now organized the webinar “The Perils of Annexation”, featuring Head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK Husam Zomlot, Chair of the Pro-Two-States Policy Working Group Ilan Baruch and Peace Now Executive Director Shaqued Morag. The panel discussed the implication of unilateral annexation including “the anticipated political fallout in each nation and around the region, the expected developments on the ground, the question of international reaction and international law” and how this unilateral move can still be prevented.
  • On 23 June, the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) organized the webinar
    “A Conversation on Biden’s Foreign Policy and Israel/Palestine”, moderated by Jewish Currents editor Peter Beinart and featuring FMEP President Lara Friedman, foreign policy advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders Matt Duss, and Member of the Israeli parliament Aida Touma-Sliman.
  • On 23 June, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, jointly with 68 progressive organizations (incl. Adalah Justice Project, Friends of Sabeel North America, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Democratic Socialists of America Palestine Working Group, Students for Justice in Palestine: University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Eyewitness Palestine) sent the joint letter “Divest from Violence; Invest in Justice for All” to Members of the US Congress. The US-based organizations called on the Congress to take concrete steps to hold the Israeli government accountable for its ongoing human rights violations and oppression against the Palestinian people by ending the annual flow of $3.8 billion in military and weapons funding., to uplift the vision of safety first advanced by the movement Black Lives Matter and defund the $300 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programme.
  • On 18 June, J Street published the letter signed by more than 600 rabbis, cantors and seminary students from across the US, warning that the Israeli government’s threatened unilateral annexation in the occupied West Bank “would be a catastrophic mistake […] violate human rights, weaken democracy, and make Israelis and Palestinians less secure.”

United Nations

  • On 24 June, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov devoted his regular briefing on the situation in the Middle East to the 14th report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016). He reiterated the UN Secretary-General’s grave concern over the continuing threat of Israeli annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank and joined him in calling on Israel to abandon this plan. Among significant developments, he mentioned  Israel’s High Court of Justice overturning the controversial 2017 law that enabled wide-scale expropriation of private Palestinian land and the retroactive legalization, under Israeli law, of thousands of housing units in Israeli settlements. He thanked Jordan and Sweden for their efforts to mobilize support for UNRWA through the recent pledging conference which they co-chaired, with the participation of the Secretary-General and encouraged Member States to support the Agency to ensure its operations can continue throughout 2020. He called for everyone to do their part in the coming weeks to preserve and promote the prospect of ending the occupation and achieving a negotiated two-State solution, based on international law, UN resolutions and bilateral agreements.

 

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.