Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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4 January 2019

Middle East

  • On 2 January, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a statement condemning Israeli naval forces for opening fire at Palestinian fishing boats and detaining two fishermen in the Gaza Strip. The PCHR urged the international community to intervene and stop all Israeli violations against fishermen.
  • On 1 January, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) called on the police and security services to stop politically motivated attacks against civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The PCHR reported that security personnel beat up Fatah supporters commemorating the 54th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah party at Palestine Square in Gaza City. In parallel, security services in the West Bank arrested dozens of civilians affiliated with Hamas Movement in Nablus, Jenin and Tubas. The PCHR emphasised that the freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and political participation are rights guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law.
  • On 30 December, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, reported that the Supreme Court dismissed the petition it had filed on behalf of three Knesset Members against the Knesset Presidium’s decision to reject their proposed bill – Basic Law: State of all its Citizens. Adalah stated that the decision violates the basic right to full equality for Palestinian Arab citizens of the state. The bill was initiated in response to the new Basic Law – The Nation State of the Jewish People, passed by the Knesset in mid-July 2018.
  • On 27 December, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights organized a workshop to discuss the implications of the recent decision of the Ministry of National Economy (MNE) requiring traders wishing to import goods into Gaza to apply for authorization first and then pay new taxes on some imported goods. Participants called on the MNE to freeze the new import taxes, and instead pursue alternative policies of comprehensive protection of local products.
  • On 19 December, HaMoked reported that the bill for the deportation of families of nationalistically-motivated assailants passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset. The bill seeks to grant the military commander the authority to forcibly remove from their West Bank homes first-degree relatives of a person who killed or tried to kill another person for nationalistic motives or encouraged the act. HaMoked sent a protest letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu noting that the proposed law contravenes both Israeli and international law, and embodied severe harm to human rights, principally the rights to dignity, liberty and property.
  • On 17 December, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, sent a letter to Social Equality Minister, Gila Gamliel, demanding that the psychometric prep course only offered in Hebrew should also be offered in Arabic in advance of the April 2019 exam. Adalah stressed that offering the course only in Hebrew will cause serious harm to Arab students, will perpetuate existing education gaps, and will make it more difficult for Arab students to integrate into academia and, later, into the workforce.

North America

  • On 18 December, Human Rights Watch reported that the US Congress was considering a draft legislation which would impose criminal penalties on businesses and non-profits who stop doing business with Israel or Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, erasing the distinction between Israel and the West Bank that the US has long recognized.

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.