Civil Society and the Question of Palestine

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9 July 2020

Middle East

  • On 14 July, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) is organizing the webinar “The Price of Impunity: How Israel Uses Collective Punishment as a Tool of Domination” featuring UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Occupied Since 1967 Michael Lynk, Al-Haq legal researcher Rania Muhareb, Al-Quds University Community Action Centre Director Munir Nuseibeh, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre researcher Budour Hassan and Addameer Director Sahar Francis. The webinar, organized on the margins of the 44th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council, will be moderated by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.
  • On 9 July, Al-Haq informed about its oral intervention at the 44th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council under item 3 “Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”. Al-Haq flagged that the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) has one of the highest rates of adolescent mental disorders in the Eastern Mediterranean region and warned about Israel’s arbitrary permit regime for the Gaza Strip, controlling access to essential healthcare outside of Gaza and placing conditions on access to urgent and lifesaving treatment for thousands of Palestinians, in what amounts to ill-treatment and, in the most severe cases, arbitrary deprivation of life.
  • On 7 July, Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights and Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (UK) issued a joint press release on the sixth anniversary of the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza. Both NGOs called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor to include the 2014 war within the scope of her pending investigation, as both NGOs had worked together to examine acts of military bombardment ordered by Israel’s political and military leadership, which had killed and maimed dozens of entire families in the Gaza Strip between 7 July and 26 August 2014. On behalf of the victims, survivors and their families Al-Mezan and LPHR appealed to the ICC to make “the objectively necessary determination that Israel has been demonstrably unwilling to provide genuine investigations […]” and to undertake the responsibility to investigate the 2014 bombardments.
  • On 7 July, Peace Now issued the report “Annex and Dispossess: Use of the Absentees’ Property Law to Dispossess Palestinians of their Property in East Jerusalem”. The report shows how a secret government mechanism established under the Likud government in the 1980s transferred dozens of Palestinian assets in Silwan and the Muslim quarter to settlers through use of the Absentees’ Property Law, among other means. Peace Now cites numerous documents indicating how that law was abused and that even when governments sought to limit its use, the following government always found means of changing the policy and re-expanding takeovers of Palestinian assets.
  • On 7 July, Gisha – Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement Executive Director Tania Hary published the article “Israel will Continue its Campaign of Dividing and Conquering Palestinians, Annexation or Not”. She explains how over the past decades, especially, Israel has used its control to isolate Gaza and separate it from the West Bank. This separation policy, without ever being formally explained or its objectives published, is defended in court with fervour by Israeli state representatives in case after case.
  • On 6 July, B’Tselem issued the report “Despite Coronavirus Outbreak: Israel Ramps Up Demolition of West Bank Palestinian Homes in June” in which the NGO denounces a spike in Israeli demolitions in the West Bank in June, leaving 151 Palestinians, including 84 minors, homeless despite the danger of remaining without shelter during a pandemic. B’Tselem also reported a spike in home demolitions in East Jerusalem with the number of homes demolished in June being double the monthly average in the first five months of 2020.
  • On 2 July, HaMoked – Centre for the Defence of the Individual informed about the significant rise, since 2018, in the number of denials by the Israeli military of Palestinian agriculture-related permit requests for access to lands trapped between the Green Line and the Separation Barrier in the West Bank. HaMoked referred to its petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) and in response to which the justices, in a hearing on 1 July, required the Government to clarify  the scope of permits issued since April 2011 and provide factual data concerning Palestinian farmers’ alleged misuse of entry permits “for the purpose of entering Israel illegally.”

Europe

  • On 4 July, the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) organized a National Day of Action in support of efforts led by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) to “spur resistance in the UK to Israel’s planned annexation of large swathes of occupied Palestinian territory in the Jordan Valley and the West Bank.”
  • On 2 July, Amnesty International published the report “10 Things You Need to Know about Annexation” discussing how the “Deal of the Century” and the Israeli proposal could include the annexation of as much as 33% of the total area of the occupied West Bank. The report details how annexation is a flagrant violation of international law, exacerbates decades of human rights violations against Palestinians, entrenches institutionalized discrimination that Palestinians face in the OPT as a result of occupation and amounts to a war crime. AI also underlined that annexation does not change Israel’s legal obligations as an occupying power, based on Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

North America

  • On 14 July, the Columbia U Centre for Palestine Studies and the Institute for Palestine Studies will organize the online discussion “Systemic Racism in the US and Israel: Analogies and Dis-analogies” featuring Professors Nadia Abu El-Haj, Johanna Fernandez, Maha Nassar and Nahla Abdo. The discussion will focus on recent police violence in the United States that sparked anti-racism protests and parallels between the United States and Israel in terms of their respective security states and policing practices.
  • On 13 July, the Foundation for Middle East Peace and Jewish Currents magazine will hold the webinar “Imagining Together a Shared, One-State Reality” featuring Journalist Peter Beinart and US Campaign for Palestinian Rights Director Yousef Munayyer, in conversation with Lara Friedman. The conversation (via Zoom) will examine the proposition that the way forward for Israel-Palestine might well be a shared, one-State reality: why this is the case, what such a shift in thinking would mean to both Jewish and Palestinian Americans, and what such as a future might look like for Israelis and Palestinians on the ground.
  • On 10 July, Americans for Peace Now (APN) will hold the webinar “My Case for Equality” with Peter Beinart to discuss his new essay where he explains why he has moved from his long-held position advocating for a two-State solution and now makes the case for equality between Jews and Palestinians in one shared national entity.

United Nations

  • On 1 July, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini issued an official statement to the virtual Advisory Commission in which he called on Member States, building on the pledging conference hosted by Sweden and Jordan, to have a predictable UNRWA budget for Palestine refugees, the host countries and region, as well as to shield the Agency from increased political attacks and to protect the humanitarian space necessary to deliver effectively the Agency’s mandate. He also invited the attendees to learn from the COVID-19 crisis and to “build back better” and continue to use innovation and digital solutions to better serve the UNRWA community.

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.