NGO Action News – 7 November 2019

Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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7 November 2019

Middle East

  • On 7 November, the Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council (PHROC) issued a statement to condemn the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court to uphold the deportation of Human Rights Watch Director Omar Shakir. PHROC called on the international community, including relevant UN bodies and third States to take immediate action to ensure the protection of civil society organizations working on Palestinian rights and to ensure their continued work and presence without limitations.
  • On 6 November, the Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council (PHROC) released a statement to condemn movement restrictions and travel ban against Amnesty International staff Laith Abu Zeyad imposed by Israel. PHROC condemned “Israel’s arbitrary movement restrictions,” which must be viewed within the context of its “growing institutionalized repression, intimidation and attacks against civil society organizations, human rights defenders and activists working for Palestinian rights.”
  • On 6 November, Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel welcomed the findings of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the fourth periodic report of Israel, which included a list of concerns, recommendations and actions that Israel must take in order to comply with its human rights obligations. Adalah underlined that it was the first time that a UN monitoring body determined that the Jewish Nation-State Law does not comply with a human rights treaty ratified by Israel and called on Israel to either amend or repeal the law.
  • On 6 November, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PHCR), jointly with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, concluded a training course within its EU-funded project “Promote, Respect, and Fulfil the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health in the Gaza Strip”. The training focused on capacity building of medical crews to provide proper health care in accordance with human rights standards to fulfil the right to health in Gaza.
  • On 3 November, Gisha – Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement reported that Israel had not removed any items from its list of “dual-use” materials requiring special permission to enter the Gaza Strip, including steel cables for the fishing industry and agricultural fertilizers, although it had agreed to “ease” certain restrictions. In a response to Gisha’s request for information to Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the latter emphasized that it works constantly to assist Gaza’s civilian population by promoting economic activity and trade. In its press release, Gisha lamented the disparity between such statements and Israel’s actions on the ground.

North America

  • On 8 November, the Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development will hold its annual conference “The Deal of the Century: A Plan to Liquidate the Palestine Question” in Washington, D.C., to consider what must done to keep the issue of Palestine at the front and centre of global policy so that “it does not wither under the weight of fake economic development.” The keynote address by Joseph Massad, Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University, will be followed by two panels on “the Right of Return, UNRWA, US and Israeli Policies” and “Geopolitics, BDS, the Media and Palestine, and US Perspective on the Deal”.
  • On 6 November, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) condemned Israel Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Israeli government’s expulsion of the head of Human Rights Watch in Israel and Palestine, Omar Shakir. JVP co-acting executive director Rabbi Alissa Wise stated that “[…] every day Israel is slipping further away from any pretence of democracy” because “a free society requires preserving and even encouraging human rights defenders to do their work unimpeded, to ensure that those whose rights are threatened by the government have an advocate and witness.”
  • On 4 November, Addameer – Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association informed about its speaking tour in the United States, including New York, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. The tour “Free Political Prisoners: from Palestine to the United States” started on 16 October 2019 and lasted two weeks. Its main goal was to raise awareness regarding the general conditions of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons.

United Nations

  • On 31 October, UN human rights Special Rapporteurs called on Israel to immediately release Heba Al-Labadi, a Palestinian woman with Jordanian nationality, who had been placed in solitary confinement after an Israeli military court sentenced her to administrative detention without trial. The human rights experts criticized the use of administrative detention by Israel as an alternative to criminal proceedings, “especially in cases where there is insufficient evidence to charge the person.” They called on Israel to abolish this form of detention, “where individuals are deprived of core due process guarantees.”


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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