NGO Action News – 6 January 2022

Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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Middle East

  • On 5 January, Peace Now informed that the local committee for planning and construction of the Jerusalem Municipality approved five new plans beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem for 3,557 new housing units. Peace Now also identified that the most harmful plan in this process for the perspective of a two-state solution is the plan known as the “lower aqueduct plan” near Givat Hamatos and Har Homa, for the construction of a new neighborhood with 1,465 housing units that would block the potential Palestinian continuum between the Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
  • On 29 December, Peace Now published an article informing that the Israeli Minister of Defense intends to establish a new settlement in the area of Jabal Sabeih where the Evyatar outpost was established near the village of Beita, south of Nablus. Peace Now considers the establishment of such settlement as a serious deviation from the principles of the political “status quo” on which the current Israeli government was established.
  • On 29 December, 7amleh informed that the Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition (PDRC) and the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) warned against passing the “Facebook Law” in the Israeli Knesset and its serious repercussions on Palestinian digital rights. Among other measures, this law grants Israeli courts the power to demand the removal of user-generated content on social media content platforms that can be perceived as inflammatory or as harming “the security of the state”, or the security of people or the security of the public.
  • On 27 December, Al-Haq and Addameer informed that the legal team representing the 6 civil society organizations designated by Israel as “terrorist organizations” sent a letter to the Israeli authorities demanding that they reveal the evidence forming the bases of the designations. The legal team argued in the letter that the designations constitute a blatant political decision aimed at destroying Palestinian civil society, based on arbitrary law and emergency measures.
  • On 27 December, 7amleh, in partnership with Privacy International, launched an online guide titled “Digital Security and Privacy at Peaceful Protests” on digital surveillance technologies in peaceful protests, informed by a context-specific research study on surveillance in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jerusalem and Palestinian towns in Israel. This guide offers a resource and reference on surveillance technologies that authorities use for suppression in the context of peaceful protests by Palestinians, including mobile phone hacking, location tracking, social media monitoring, facial recognition technologies, body and hand cameras, drones and others.
  • On 27 December, Adalah issued a press release calling the Israeli Ministerial Committee on Legislation to reject the proposal to expand the scope of the applicability of the 2011 “Admissions Committees Law”, adding that the proposed bill will deepen racial discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and in the OPT and violate international law. The law permits admissions committees to, in practice, filter out Palestinian applicants and others from marginalized groups. Adalah argued that expanding the law’s applicability to the West Bank constitutes annexation of occupied territories.
  • On 26 December, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a press release to mark the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness. The article informed that hospitals in Palestine worked at a capacity exceeding their capacity during the last two years, within harsh circumstances, including lack of sufficient space, beds, or staff to assist all the patients in critical conditions. PCHR stated further that the Israeli practices towards Palestinian territories deepened the crisis of the health sector in combating the Covid-19 pandemic by slowing the entry of medical supplies such as the PCR equipment and kits, ventilators, and x-ray machines.

North America

  • On 5 January, J Street issued a press release welcoming the Israeli government’s indefinite postponement of all formal discussion on proposed new settlement construction in the highly sensitive West Bank area of E-1. J Street stated that construction in E-1 would be particularly destructive as it would directly and deliberately disrupt the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state, making it even more difficult for Israelis and Palestinians to ultimately resolve their conflict through a peaceful two-state solution.

United Nations

  • On 23 December, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) published an open letter from the UNRWA Commissioner-General to Palestine refugees. In this open letter, the UNRWA Commissioner-General recalled the main challenges faced by the agency and Palestine refugees in 2021, highlighting the agency’s funding shortages and austerity measures which are impacting the quality of services delivery. 

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.

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