Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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3 March 2019

Middle East

  • On 7 March, HaMoked announced that following its petition the Israel Tax Authority issued a directive that enables Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and Israel by virtue of family unification processes to compete in the Israeli labour market and benefit from tax credits. People belonging to this category have until recently been classified by the authorities as “foreign workers” – a classification that severely harmed their ability to earn a living.
  • On 4 March, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights held a workshop to address the repercussions of Israel’s latest decision to enact a law providing for the withholding of Palestinian tax revenue. Lawyers, legal experts, and representative of human rights and detainee affairs organizations participated.
  • On 4 March, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected HaMoked’s petition against the punitive demolition of a family home to a man accused of two attacks against Israelis in the West Bank last year. Justice Mazuz, in the minority, opposed the demolition of the home, asserting, among other things, that the case was not about the assailant himself but his family members who have no claim of involvement in his heinous deeds. Mazuz reiterated his position, that use of Regulation 119 – pursuant to which the military commander issues such demolition orders – “raises a range of difficult legal questions, both from the aspect of public international law as well as from aspects of Israeli constitutional law and administrative law.”
  • On 1 March, the Alternative Information Center (AIC), announced that it will host its annual “Bridges Instead of Walls” seminar from 29 April to 5 May. The Seminar includes lectures and meetings with civil society leaders, political figures and organizations, as well as tours of the West Bank and present-day Israel.

United Nations

  • On 8 March, to mark International Women’s Day, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Jerusalem Jamie McGoldrick paid tribute to Palestinian women for their contribution to the development of their communities. He also acknowledged the efforts made by Palestinian civil society and the Government to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • On 8 March, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) lunched a new initiative in support and recognition of the important role that women play in the Agency. The initiative launched on International Women’s day aims to produce the necessary time-off for staff to care for themselves and their families with expected benefits including reduced stress, a greater sense of control, a pleasant work environment and the ability to better integrate a healthy lifestyle into daily routine.
  • On 7 March, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People hosted a side event to the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) featuring the screening of the documentary film “Naila and the Uprising” on the role of Palestinian women during the First Intifada, followed by a discussion with some of the protagonists and other panelists.
  • On 8 March, the Government of Japan contributed an additional US$ 7 million to the UNRWA to support health care for Palestine Refugees.
  • On 7 March, the government of Afghanistan contributed US$ 1 million to UNRWA as a strong message of commitment and solidarity from a country whose people has long suffered wars and hardship.
  • On 2 March, the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) approved the establishment and operationalisation of a Developmental Waqf Fund for Palestine refugees, in support of the UNRWA. The fund primarily aims at sustaining and strengthening UNRWA’s services to 5.4 million Palestine refugees in Gaza, West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Once the Waqf is activated, OIC member states and other countries, in addition to the private sector and individuals will be able to contribute to it through the Islamic Development Bank.

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.