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.

3 May 2019

Middle East

  • On 2 May, on the occasion of International Workers’ Day, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights called for “safer and better work conditions” for Palestinian workers in the Gaza Strip. Al Mezan underlined that workers in Gaza continue to be deprived of job opportunities and suitable, regular and secure jobs as a result of Israel’s crippling closure and blockade, and called on the Palestinian authorities to introduce strategies conducive to economic recovery and growth and to betterment of working environments, as well as new policies to expand public expenditure and to improve social protection.
  • On 2 May, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) organized a workshop on “Naval blockade and its repercussions on fishermen’s rights”, attended by experts representing fishermen in Gaza, the Fish Wealth sector, the Union of Agricultural Work Committee and civil society organizations. Among the main recommendations, PCHR called upon the international community to intervene immediately and put pressure on Israel so they would expand the fishing area to 20 nautical miles off the Gaza shore.
  • On 2 May, BADIL – Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights announced that it will hold its inaugural course on “International Mobilization for the Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People” from 31 July to 9 August in Bethlehem. The course will provide a deeper understanding of the Palestinian people’s denial of access to and realization of their rights. Lectures will be underpinned by field visits on both sides of the Green Line and allow attendees to witness first-hand mechanisms of Israeli policies of forcible displacement and annexation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
  • On 29 April, Al-Haq welcomed a high-level Swedish delegation at its offices in Ramallah, headed by Sweden’s State Secretary to Minister for Foreign Affairs. The meeting was attended by Al-Haq and Directors and representatives of Defence for Children International – Palestine, BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The head of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights also joined the meeting via video conference from Gaza. While Swedish officials reiterated the friendship of their country with Palestine and their continuing engagement on the question of Palestine, the human rights groups addressed the issues of Gaza blockade, Palestine refugees and support to UNRWA.
  • On 28 April, Hamoked – Center for the Defence of the Individual issued an updated summary on “punitive home demolitions” to denounce Israel’s policy of home demolitions in the West Bank since the beginning of 2019. Hamoked stated that punitive demolitions constituted “an official policy of harming innocent people” and called on Israel to abandon this unlawful and unworthy policy at one, and on the High Court justices to stop “skirting the issue and to finally conduct a rigorous and thorough review” and to prohibit all punitive demolitions as common sense and international law dictate.

North America

  • On 2 May, Jewish Voice for Peace welcomed the decision of the Massachusetts district court in favour of allowing a panel discussion at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech, and the Battle for Palestinian Human Rights”, on May 4, against the request for an injunction to cancel the panel on the basis of “a false accusation of antisemitism against the panellists, event sponsors and attendees.”
  • On 1 May, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights issued a press release to welcome the introduction of legislation that would end United States funding of Israeli military detention and abuse of Palestinian children. H.R. 2407, the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living under Israeli Military Occupation Act itemizes specific, widespread practices inflicted on Palestinian children by Israeli military; and authorizes the appropriation of funds to monitor human rights abuses and provide psychosocial support and rehabilitation to Palestinian child victims. 

Europe

  • On 27 April, the Palestinian Return Centre participated to the 17th Palestinians in Europe Conference “With Unity and Steadfastness, We Shall Return” in Copenhagen, Denmark. A series of seminars were held as part of the conference about networking and partnership in Pro-Palestine activism in Denmark along with the creative and efficient strategies to speak up for the Palestinian cause.

United Nations

  • On 9 May, the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations will hold an Arria-formula meeting of the UN Security Council on “Israeli Settlements and Settlers”, at 3 p.m. in the ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters.
  • On 3 May, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the OPT Jamie McGoldrick called for an immediate halt to the Israeli authorities’ destruction of Palestinian-owned property in East Jerusalem. Noting that demolitions in East Jerusalem have increased at a staggering pace over the last month, he stated that Israel, as the occupying power of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, was obligated to ensure the welfare and well-being of the local Palestinian population and the “implementation of discriminatory Israeli zoning and planning regime cannot be invoked by Israel to justify any violation of international law.”
  • On 29 April, Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary A. DiCarlo delivered a statement during the briefing to the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East. USG DiCarlo reiterated the call of the UN that lethal force, as Palestinians marked the first anniversary of the Great March of Return, should only be used in response to an imminent threat of death and as a last resort. It was underlined that settlements had no legal effect and constituted a violation of international law; and that demolitions and seizures of Palestinian owned- structures also continued across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The USG urged the members of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), in light of the Palestinian Authority’ funding crisis, to use its planned meeting in Brussels to work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resolve the crisis.

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.