Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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3 June 2020

Middle East

  • On 3 June, HaMoked – Centre for the Defence of the Individual informed about a Palestinian farmer’ petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice, demanding the dismantling of six kilometres of the Separation Wall in the northern West Bank. The petition supported by HaMoked describes how the farmers have been cut off from 3,200 dunams of the lands they own which resulted in a drastic reduction of their crops and irreparable harm to soil fertility, thus crushing the livelihoods of farmers who depend on their lands.
  • On 2 June, Al-Haq published the report “Atarot Settlement: The Industrial Key in Israel’s Plan to Permanently Erase Palestine” which examines the extent of Israel’s discriminatory measures against Palestinians, exemplified in the case of the Atarot industrial settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. The report also discusses the latter’s adverse impact on the lives of Palestinians residing therein, as well as on the environment.
  • On 2 June, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights informed about a joint press release issued along with Al-Haq, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and the Habitat International Coalition on their submission of a joint report on accountability to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967, Mr. Michael Lynk. The report details the “continued failure to ensure justice and accountability and an end to Israeli impunity, for widespread and systematic human rights violations and international crimes against the Palestinian people […]” ahead of the Rapporteur’s presentation of his report on accountability to the UN General Assembly in October 2020.
  • On 1 June, Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel denounced the extension of the 2003 Citizenship Law by the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee of the Israeli parliament. Adalah criticized the law as discriminatory and a violation of fundamental constitutional rights for preventing Palestinians from entering Israel for the purposes of family reunification. The NGO informed that it continues to petition the Israeli Supreme Court on the issue.
  • On 30 May, Al-Haq published the article “Free Gaza Flotilla: Prolonged and Inconclusive proceedings at the International Criminal Court” on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Israel’s attack on the Free Gaza Flotilla, comprising a civilian humanitarian aid convoy organized to challenge Israel’s closure of the Strip. The note seeks to summarize the complex and prolonged proceedings that have been underway before the International Criminal Court since 2013, including the state referral by the Government of the Union of the Comoros and application for judicial review.
  • On 29 May, Peace Now informed that it had petitioned, with over a dozen Palestinian landowners, the Israeli High Court of Justice against the allocation of about 1,200 dunams in the Bethlehem area to the Ministry of Housing in Israel for the preparation of a construction plan for a new settlement. Peace Now warned that the planned settlement would damage the only remaining area in the Bethlehem area that could enable sustainable Palestinian development, in addition to impeding the territorial continuum between Bethlehem and the southern West Bank and therefore, the viability of a Palestinian State.

Europe

  • On 1 June, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) made a submission to the accountability study being conducted by UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk. The submission incorporates ten substantive LPHR publications covering a broad range of issues relevant to the issue of accountability, including the duty borne by States under international law to  respond to a serious breach, individual criminal responsibility, accountability and compliance in the context of business and human rights and responsibilities of international organizations involved in internationally wrongful conduct.

North America

  • On 5 June, the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) will organize the webinar
    “A Travesty of Justice: Palestinian Child Prisoners and Israeli Military Justice”, which will feature human rights attorney Farah Bayadsi and Parents Against Child Detention representative Smadar Ben Natan. The webinar will look at the role and impact of military justice on Palestinians and its function in the Israeli occupation. It will focus on Palestinian children in the military justice system and will include discussion of the legal frameworks of child detention.
  • On 3 June, the Arab Centre Washington DC and the Institute for Palestine Studies organized a webinar to discuss the implications of the Israeli plan to annex vast areas of Palestinian land and extend Israeli sovereignty over illegal settlements in the West Bank. The discussions, which featured speakers Noura Erakat, Rashid Khalidi, Nasser Al-Kidwa and Tamara Kharroub, served to explore the implications of the recent announcement by Palestinian Authority that it will end all agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the United States.
  • On 29 May, Human Rights Watch published a letter it addressed to HeidelbergCement regarding an expansion of a quarry located in Nahal Raba in the occupied West Bank on land confiscated by Israel, and owned by Hanson, a subsidiary of HeidelbergCement. In light of several recent developments, Human Rights Watch requested a response to whether the company inter alia is expanding the quarry, how the expansion aligns with the company’s human rights position, a confirmation of the company’s continued sale or delivery of goods to Israeli settlements, and the amount of taxes and other fees it pays annually to Israel for the extraction of resources and operation of associated facilities in the OPT.

United Nations

  • On 4 June, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People held the UN Forum on “The Question of Palestine: Threats of Annexation and the Prospects for Peace” from 10.00 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. (New York). Three prominent speakers – Ms. Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the PLO Executive Committee; Mr. Yossi Beilin, Former Israeli Cabinet Minister; Mr. James Zogby, Founder and President of the Arab American Institute – intervened on the prevailing challenges and the current political impasse.
  • On 31 May, the office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process issued a paper for the upcoming bi-annual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) on 2 June, calling for action to avert Palestinian economic collapse and warning against unilateral moves that can trigger conflict and instability. The paper notes that any move by Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank or any Palestinian withdrawal from bilateral agreements would dramatically shift local dynamics and most likely trigger conflict and instability in the OPT. Special Coordinator Mladenov stated that all sides must do their part in the coming weeks and months in order to preserve the prospect of a negotiated two-State resolution to the conflict. The paper also highlights the UN’s swift and thorough response to the COVID-19 in the OPT, undertaken in support to the Palestinian efforts.

 

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.