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Civil Society and the Question of Palestine - NGO Action News – 1 October 2020

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1 October 2020

Middle East

  • On 1 October, Adalah -- The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel issued a press release on the occasion of the 20-year anniversary of the October 2000 incident, at the outbreak of the Second Intifada, during which Israeli police officers shot dead Palestinians protesting against the Israeli military's killing and wounding of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). In the press release, Adalah also refers to the 2017 Israeli police killing of Ya'akub Abu al-Qi'an, linking it to the October 2000 cases, claiming both incidents resulted in no criminal charges filed against Israel's security forces.

  • On 1 October, Gisha -- Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement issued an update on the status of Rafah, Erez and Shalom crossings and on of travel restrictions related to the pandemic in the Gaza Strip. While some areas in the North of the Strip and in Gaza City remain under full lockdown, other restrictions have been scaled back allowing many stores to reopen and government offices to return partially to work.

  • On 30 September, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, jointly with Al-Haq, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, delivered an oral intervention at the 45th Human Rights Council session, calling on Member States to press Israel to immediately lift the illegal Gaza closure. Al Mezan lamented that the Strip is witnessing a "devastating spike in the violation of the population's basic human rights [...] including the rights to water and sanitation, to an adequate standard of living, to health, and to the prohibition on the use of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment." The measures coincided with the spread of COVID-19, undermining Gaza's ability to implement basic health measures.

  • On 30 September, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a press release to condemn the confiscation of a Palestine TV's vehicle by Israeli security forces under the pretext that the crew was in a closed military zone in the Jordan Valley, east of Tubas. PCHR affirmed this was a continuation of a "systematic policy against press crews, and Palestinian and international media agencies operating in the OPT [...]."

  • On 29 September, Peace Now issued an update on the Israeli Supreme Court's ruling to accept the appeal and petition of Palestinian landowners on whose lands the Mitzpe Kramim outpost was established. Peace Now underlined it was an important ruling confirming that the "land grab in Mitzpe Kramim" was not made in good faith, and therefore the "Market Regulation" cannot be applied and the land should return to its owners.

  • On 29 September, 7amleh -- The Arab Centre for the Advancement of Social Media published the report "Digital Security for Jerusalemite Youth" (Arabic). The report outlines the high frequency of digital risks and threats against Jerusalemite youth in particular and aims to understand the Palestinian digital environment in the Jerusalem governorate based on a field survey of different age groups and social strata.

  • On 26 September, on the occasion of the World Tourism Day, Al-Haq called for "corporate accountability for adverse human rights impacts on Palestinian host communities". Al-Haq called on the international community to recognize the prolonged Israeli occupation as well as Israel's discriminatory practices and polices amounting to apartheid against the Palestinian people. In addition,Al-Haq said that long-lasting Israeli restrictions on trade, movement and access continue to constrain Palestinian economic development, while the appropriation of Palestinian natural and cultural resources continue to negatively impact their livelihood.

  • On 26 September, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre (JLAC) made an oral intervention under Items 3 and 5 "Interactive Dialogue with the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People" (EMRIP) at the 45th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council. JLAC urged EMRIP to call on Israel to immediately return the withheld bodies of deceased Palestinians, to put an end to this policy and to lift all restrictions on Palestinian funerals and mourning rituals.

Europe

  • On 25 September, the Association Belgo-Palestinienne (ABP) issued the press release "Global Answer to Israeli Apartheid: Call on the General Assembly of the UN" (French). ABP quoted the open letter of the Palestinian civil society to the GA, calling for the launch of international investigations on the situation in the OPT, the reconstitution of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid, and to stop arms trade and military cooperation with Israel, among others.

North America

  • On 6 October, the Foundation for the Middle East Peace (FMEP) will hold the webinar "Is It Time to Reform International Aid to Palestine" to discuss the asymmetry of power on the ground (land, natural resources, planning, borders) and what must change to ensure that international aid no longer functions as a de facto mechanism facilitating the continuation and entrenchment of a status quo defined by Israel and its occupation policies.

  • On 1 October, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued the report "Israel's Systematic Repression of Palestinians Continues during Pandemic: Item 7 General Debate -- HRC 45" on Israeli violations in the OPT between March and August of this year. HRW said that the strong evidence that serious crimes have been committed in Palestine since 2014 underscores the need for International Criminal Court (ICC) scrutiny over the situation through a formal investigation. HRW also said that he entrenchment of Israeli's illegal settlements in the West Bank highlights the urgency of the continued updating and public reporting of the database of businesses contributing to those settlements.

  • On 23 September, Americans for Peace Now (APN) held the podcast "Israeli Memory of the 1948 Palestinian Refugee Problem" where Rafi Nets-Zehngut focused on the collective memory among Israeli Jews of the question of the Palestinian exodus from Palestine during the 1948 war. Israeli Jews refer to it as the "War of Independence" while Palestinians call it the "Nakba". The podcast highlighted how the "biased official Zionist narrative" is increasingly challenged in Israel.

  • On 23 September, J Street welcomed a new US House letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, signed by 26 Members of Congress, expressing grave concerns over the Jewish National Fund's ongoing proceedings to evict the Sumarin family from its home in Silwan in East Jerusalem. J Street urged the Fund and Israeli authorities to stop undertaking actions that violate Palestinian rights, further destabilizing the status quo in Jerusalem and making it harder to resolve the City's final status as part of a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

United Nations

  • On 29 September, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov delivered his briefing on the situation in the Middle East to the Security Council, reporting on the implementation of UNSCR 2334, covering the period from 5 June to 20 September of this year. He explained that the resurgence of COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on the ground and that the UN and its partners will continue to support Palestinians in responding to the pandemic, with a focus on Gaza. He described limited settlement advancement but remained concerned by plans for settlement construction in E1, in addition to serious spike in demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned structures in the OPT and the continuing settler-violence. Mr. Mladenov welcomed the 13 August understandings that have de-escalated tensions in and around Gaza and the recent meeting of the PLO Executive Committee and Heads of Palestinian factions as well as subsequent efforts made by the Palestinian leadership to strengthen reconciliation.

  • On 28 September, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People issued its quarterly newsletter on its recent and upcoming activities for the months of July, August and September. These include the Committee Bureau's meeting with the UN Secretary-General, participation to the Security Council debate on the situation in the Middle East, the annual Conference on the Question of Jerusalem, and the adoption of the Committee's Annual Report.

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.*