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Civil Society and the Question of Palestine - NGO Action News – 10 September 2020

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10 September 2020

Middle East

  • On 9 September, B'Tselem issued the report "Plunged Into Despair: How Israel's Policy Affects Gazan Families that Depend on Fishing for a Living", which consists of a collection of testimonies by wives and mothers of Gazan fishermen and fishmongers regarding the financial uncertainty imposed by Israel's collective punishment of Palestinian fishermen. The report examines the impact of Israel's reduction of Gaza's fishing range from 15 to eight nautical miles, following the launch of explosive-laden balloons from Gaza into Israel, in addition to the routine seizure of their boats and ban on the import of materials used for repairs.

  • On 9 September, Peace Now issued a press release on the eviction of four Palestinian families from their homes in Batan Al-Hawa, Silwan following the Jerusalem Magistrate Court's ruling last week on the need for them to evacuate their homes in favor of settlers within six months. Peace Now called the decision an "attempt to displace a Palestinian community and to replace it with an Israeli one, in the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem [..]." and a "hard blow to the prospects for a two-State solution by preventing a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem [...]."

  • On 4 September, the Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) issued the press release "UN Must Urgently Intervene to Ensure Israel Upholds its Legal Obligations Toward Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees". CIHRS informed they had submitted a joint appeal to the UN Special Procedures on 5 August where they emphasized the continued failure of Israel to adhere to its legal obligations, as Occupying Power, and its failure to protect Palestinian prisoners and detainees from COVID-19, including the most vulnerable groups such as minors or chronically ill, and those held under administrative detention, in contravention of the international law.

  • On 4 September, Al-Haq issued a statement to condemn the imposition of US sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its designated staff, including the ICC's Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, among others. Al-Haq criticized the US designation of senior professional ICC staff as an 'unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States' as a "grave threat to the independence and impartiality of the ICC."

  • On 3 September, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a press release to condemn US economic sanctions on ICC officials. PCHR called upon the international community, particularly the 123 States signatories of the Rome Statute, to condemn the measures taken by the US Administration against the Court and its staff, and provide the necessary protection to allow the Court to operate in an independent and impartial manner.

  • On 3 September, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights issued the fact sheet "Water Shortage in the Gaza Strip Amid COVID-19 Outbreak", which addressed the deteriorating living conditions in the Gaza strip as a result of Israel's 14-year blockade and recent punitive measures, notably the ban on fuel entry into the Strip, and their repercussions on the provision of municipal services, particularly water and sanitation. The fact sheet also sheds light on the struggle of low-income families to access alternative sources of water to offset the intermittent supply of municipal water amid a full lockdown imposed on Gaza to fight the spread of COVID-19.

  • On 2 September, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association published the report "Torture Positions in Israeli Occupation Prisons" on the forms of torture used in extracting confessions from Palestinian detainees, based on the cases of a number of detainees at al-Mascobiyya interrogation center where severe physical and psychological torture was used at the end of 2019.

North America

  • On 1 October, Columbia University Centre for Palestine Studies will hold the talk "The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians" with authors Sa'ed Atshan and Katharina Galor on their ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with Israelis, Palestinians and Germans in Berlin to explore the asymmetric relationships in the context of official German policies, public discourse and the private sphere.

  • On 10 September, the Foundational for Middle East Peace (FMEP) is holding the webinar "Social Media in the Crosshairs: The Effort to Redefine Anti-Semitism to Quash Criticism of Israel" with Peter Beinart in conversation with Lara Friedman and Liz Jackson.

United Nations

  • On 9 September, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini delivered a statement at the 154th session of the league of Arab States Council at the ministerial level about the situation of Palestine refugees and the challenges that UNRWA faces. He stated that whilst the challenges facing the Palestine refugees and UNRWA are multiple, the immediate priority is to protect the Palestine refugee community from COVID-19 and that "in such an unpredictable and unstable environment, we need, more than ever, a predictable and stable UNRWA." He warned that failing to receive the necessary funds will affect vital services to millions of Palestine refugees and if the Agency cannot deliver on its mandate due to inadequate resources, he will have no other choice than to turn to the UN General Assembly for guidance about what part of the mandate it wishes to prioritize.

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.