Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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26 July 2019

Middle East

  • On 18 July, Addameer issued a statement that it “holds the occupation authorities fully responsible for the health and life of the striking prisoners, who are increasingly at risk under the conditions that the prisoners are held under” in the context of a hunger strike of Palestinians under administrative detention by the Israeli authorities.
  • On 18 July, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights announced the completion of its third and fourth training courses on “Human Rights and Mechanisms to Promote the Right to Health”. 54 students participated in the current courses. The EU finances these trainings, which are part of a three-year project.
  • On 21 July, Adalah, Gisha and Al Mezan stated that aerial herbicide spraying by Israel near the Gaza fence “infringes on fundamental human rights and violates Israeli and international law.” The statement was a response to the release of a report by Forensic Architecture, which concluded that the practice of spraying herbicides has damaged lands and crops inside the Gaza Strip.
  • On 22 July, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and B’Tselem issued statements against the demolitions in Sur Bahir/Wadi al-Hummus by Israeli authorities after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected appeals. Both NGOs highlighted that some of the buildings lie in Area A of the West Bank, where building permits had been issued by the Palestinian Government.
  • On July 22, Al-Haq appealed to the Special Procedures (independent human rights experts) of the Human Rights Council, to call for an immediate halt to the demolitions in Sur Bahir/Wadi al-Hummus. The organisation called the actions by the Israeli authorities “part of Israel’s long-term and systematic policy to forcibly uproot, displace and dispossess Palestinians.”
  • On July 22, Addameer, Al-Haq, Amnesty International, BADIL, Cairo Institute, Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, Community Action Center and Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center issued a joint statement protesting the attempted deportation of Palestinian photo journalist Mustafa al-Kharouf from Givon Prison to Jordan. The organisations stated that the attempt “may amount to forcible deportation” and called “for immediate action to halt the deportation of Mustafa al-Kharouf from Jerusalem to Jordan, or elsewhere, or any forcible transfer or deportation separating him from his wife, child, and family, and ensure his immediate release.”
  • On 23 July, the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation Council, representing ten human rights organisations, issued a joint statement holding Israeli authorities responsible for “Palestinian prisoners’ life and protection from medical negligence, torture and ill-treatment.” The statement was issued in response to the death of Palestinian detainee Nasser Taqtaqa in Israeli custody on 16 July.

Europe

  • On 22 July, Amnesty International and the Norwegian Refugee Council spoke out against the demolition of homes in the Sur Bahir/Wadi al-Hummus. The demolition was considered a “grave breach of international humanitarian law” as the area remained part of the West Bank under the Oslo Accords. Amnesty International demanded that “Israel must immediately end its cruel and discriminatory policy of home demolitions and forced displacement.” Both NGOs questioned the explanation provided by Israel that these demolitions were needed for security reasons.

United States

  • On 18 July, J Street spoke out in defense of free speech rights in the United States, in relation to recent attempts to criminalise the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) and stated its opposition to legislation “that seeks to impose unconstitutional legal penalties on those engaging in boycotts.” The NGO went on to say that it is “unequivocal both in [its] strong opposition to the Global BDS Movement and in [its] support for Americans’ constitutional right to engage in boycott activities.” In this spirit it expressed support for both US House Resolution 246 (HR 246) that opposes the BDS movement and support for US House Resolution 496 that affirms the right to participate in boycotts as protected by the First Amendment.
  • On 22 July, J Street released a statement condemning the demolitions in the West Bank village of Sur Bahir.
  • On 22 July Peace Now published the report “Return of the Outpost Method – 32 new unauthorized settlements under the Netanyahu government”. The report details new unauthorized outposts “deep inside the West Bank.” It further states that these have been created with “direct assistance of the authorities and often financed by public funds.”
  • On 23 July, Jewish Voice for Peace released a statement renouncing the vote by the House of Representatives to pass HR 246, since it would “undoubtedly encourage further attempts to criminalize the defense of Palestinian rights,” and stated that “Most Representatives […] are actively taking steps to demonize and ostracize human rights advocates working to make non-violent change.”

United Nations

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.