Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

This page may contain links to third-party Web sites. The linked sites are not under the control of the United Nations and the United Nations is not responsible for the content of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site. The United Nations provides these links only as a convenience, and the inclusion of a link or reference does not imply endorsement of the linked site by the United Nations. This newsletter is a project of the Division for Palestinian Rights, and is intended to provide information on NGO activities relevant to the question of Palestine . NGOs interested in contributing information on their activities should communicate it by email.The Division reserves the right to make the final selection with regard to material to be included in this newsletter. It cannot take responsibility for the accuracy of the information.

26 April 2019

Middle East

  • On 25 April, Al-Haq Centre for Applied International Law concluded a three-day international law orientation course for diplomatic staff and employees of international organizations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The course, which was attended by 30 participants from diplomatic missions, students and Palestinian professionals, included presentations by Al-Haq legal professionals on key issues pertaining to the OPT in international humanitarian law and human rights. Participants were also taken on two field visits – the old city of Hebron and the Jordan Valley – to witness human rights violations on the ground. The latter include forcible transfer and access to natural resources of and by Palestinians, especially in Al Jiftlik, Khirbet Makhoul and Al-Oja communities in Area C.
  • On 23 April, The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) issued a joint statement to condemn the U.S. entry ban on Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for Palestinian rights (BDS) Omar Barghouti. PHROC denounced the United States policy of targeting human rights defenders and activists who work on the issue of Palestine, as well as the Senate’s bill targeting companies that choose to boycott Israel passed in February 2019. PHROC condemned all practices and policies designed to hinder the work of human rights defenders and affirmed Barghouti’s right to participate in and call for BDS.
  • On 22 April, Hamoked – Center for the Defence of the Individual issued a protest letter against the Israeli Ministry of Interior to dismiss all appeals concerning requests for family unification and child registration in East Jerusalem. Hamoked criticized the difficulties stemming from the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law applying to Palestinian families from East Jerusalem seeking to register their children and obtain a permit or residency status for non-Jerusalemite spouses.
  • On 17 April, Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement issued a press release on the quotas set by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (CPGAT) for holiday permits to be granted to Christian Palestinians living under Israel’s control. The quotas this year meant that Palestinian families separated between Gaza, Israel and the West Bank were not able to spend Easter holiday together. It also meant that all Christians in Gaza were denied access to family and to the holy sites in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Gisha further denounced Israel’s decision to outright deny movement between Gaza and the west bank this Easter as a violation of Palestinians’ fundamental rights to freedom of movement, religious freedom and family life.
  • On 17 April, PHROC and the Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO) issued the fact sheet “Palestinian Prisoners in the Face of Restrictions” to denounce the ill-treatment and poor detention conditions of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, particularly following recommendations issued by Israel’s Internal Security Minister Committee. Based on this Committee’s report, Israelis imposed more punitive measures, including the installation of cameras for recreational activities of female prisoners; launch of sudden and provocative inspection campaigns; restrictions on external visits including of their lawyers. These measures were stressed as in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international standards of fair trail procedures.
  • On 17 April, on the occasion of Palestinian Prisoners Day, Addameer – Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association issued a press release explaining how the issue of Palestinian prisoners and detainees held in Israeli prisons and detention centres transcended individual human rights, “it is also one of collective rights of an entire people – the Palestinian people, who continue to be deprived of the right of self-determination and sovereignty.” Addameer also highlighted the need for more solidarity action from people around the globe to call for immediate release of all Palestinian political prisoners, long denied their basic rights.

North America

  • On 23 April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized anti-boycott laws passed by many states in the United States to punish companies that refuse to do business with illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. HRW reported that more than 250 million Americans, some 78 percent of the population, live in states with anti-boycott laws or policies. Deputy US Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch Andrea Prasow said that “states should encourage, not sanction, companies that avoid contributing to rights abuses.”
  • On 18 April, Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine Director Omar Shakir denounced Israeli authorities’ decision to deport him for “promoting boycott of Israel.” The court decision came a year after the unprecedented revocation of Omar Shakir’s work permit by the Ministry of Interior, based on the alleged violation of Amendment No. 28 of the Entry into Israel Law. The HRW Director explained that the new element with this new decision was that the Israeli court sided with the government in directly targeting advocates challenging human rights abuses.

United Nations

  • On 25 April, the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) published a press release on their report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Commission (AHLC) for the upcoming bi-annual meeting in Brussels on 30 April. The report stresses the United Nations’ firm commitment to continue working with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international community to find a solution to the unprecedented fiscal crisis. It also provides an update in the urgent interventions for Gaza, as well as a number of steps to ease the economic stress across the OPT.

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.