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Civil Society and the Question of Palestine - NGO Action News – 11 November 2021

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Middle East

  • On 9 November, Adalah informed that it had sent a letter to the Israeli Minister of Communications and Attorney General demanding an immediate cancellation of the decision on the determination of "preferred areas" for connection of advanced internet networks, and the tender for the deployment of fibre optics in certain priority localities, including about 70 settlements in the occupied West Bank. Adalah argued that the law does not allow the Communications Minister to decide on priority areas and publish a tender within the OPT.

  • On 8 November, Al-Haq published an article informing that several Palestinian human rights activists have been targeted by the Israeli Pegasus spyware surveillance system. The organization claimed that this surveillance is part of wider coordinated actions by Israeli authorities to perform systematic and organized smear, intimidation and persecution campaigns against Palestinian civil society. In addition, Addameer published an article on the topic, and 7amleh issued a statement from seven civil society organization condemning the use of Pegasus spyware against the targeted human rights groups.

  • On 7 November, Al-Haq issued a press release welcoming the Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs' position regarding the designation by Israel of six Palestinian Civil Society Organisations as "terror organisations", including that Israel had not shown Ireland or the European Union credible evidence that there was any ground for its decision. On the same day, the organization published another statement condemning the military order issued by Israel's commander-in-chief of the Central Command to transpose its designation of Al-Haq as a "terrorist organization" within the occupied West Bank.

  • On 4 November, Addameer informed that two of the six Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons on hunger strike have surpassed 100 days on strike, are in critical condition and face an increasingly imminent threat to life as they protest their continued detention without trial or charge. The two prisoners are now held in Israeli hospitals due to the gravity of their conditions. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights issued a statement on 10 November demanding the international community put pressure on the Israeli authorities to release all six prisoners immediately.

  • On 3 November, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights announced the conclusion of five training courses through the HAYA Joint Programme entitled "Awareness-Raising and Capacity Building for Educational Institutions' Staff to Eliminate Violence against Women in the Gaza Strip's Governorates". These training courses were conducted in cooperation with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to train teachers working in UNRWA schools across the Gaza Strip.

  • On 1 November, 7amleh launched "7or", the first Palestinian digital rights violations monitor and the first open online platform to monitor, document and follow-up on digital rights violations against Palestinian content. The platform aims to raise awareness of digital rights and document violations faced by users and to end digital discrimination against Palestinians and Palestinian content.

Europe

  • On 8 November, Amnesty International published a report confirming that the devices of six Palestinian human rights defenders were hacked with the Israeli Pegasus spyware in 2020 and 2021, as published by Front Line Defenders (FLD). FLD shared the data they collected with the University or Toronto's Citizen Lab and Amnesty International's Security Lab who both independently confirmed these findings.

  • On 4 November, Association France Palestine Solidarité informed that 26 French and international organizations had sent a letter to the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs asking for the French Government to support the six Palestinian civil society organizations designated as "terror organisations" by Israel.

North America

  • On 18 November, the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Institute for Palestine Studies will organize a panel discussion with representatives from Addameer, Defense for Children International -- Palestine, Columbia Law School, Center for Constitutional Rights and Columbia University. The conversation will address the work of Addameer and Defense for Children International Palestine in particular, the new challenges imposed by the Israeli government's designation of CSOs as "terrorist entities", and how the organizations plan to move forward.

  • On 8 November, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights issued a memo urging members of Congress to take legislative action towards accountability for Israel in order to stop US funding and diplomatic support to ongoing abuses. The organization urged Members to support resolutions defending six criminalized Palestinian human rights organizations and to support the Palestinian Children and Families Act, which creates transparency and tracking on where US military funding to Israel is spent, while setting up restrictions to stop US taxpayer dollars from funding child detention, annexation, home demolition and land expropriation projects.

  • On 8 November, Human Rights Watch published an article informing that the Israeli Supreme Court issued a ruling on 27 October denying tax-exempt status to an Israeli registered group running a school in the West Bank because the school educates Palestinian, not Israeli, children. According to the article, the court's ruling means that Israeli-registered groups operating in the West Bank will get tax breaks if they provide services to Jewish Israelis living in unlawful settlements, but not if they provide services to Palestinians living under military occupation in the same territory.

  • On 8 November, Americans for Peace Now organized the webinar "Six Palestinian NGOs Designated as 'Terrorist Organizations': What Happened and Why". During the webinar, Michael Sfard, one of Israel's leading human rights lawyers, discussed the lack of public disclosure of evidence related to the Israeli Defense Minister designation of six prominent Palestinian NGOs as "terrorist organizations" and this decision's implications.

  • On 5 November, the Foundation for Middle East Peace organized the webinar "The Terrorism Smear: Israel's Move to Shut Down Palestinian Human Rights Work". Panelists discussed the work of the targeted Palestinian NGOs declared as "terror organizations" by Israel, the context and impact of this terror designation, reactions from governments and NGOs in the United States and the European Union.

  • On 5 November, the Jerusalem Fund organized the 2021 Palestine Center Annual Conference "United against apartheid". The event included a presentation by Cornel West as keynote speaker, and two panel discussions.

United Nations

  • On 29 November, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will hold the annual commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at UN Headquarters in New York with a special session of the Committee, including high-level Member States representatives. Concurring events are also planned at the UN Offices at Geneva (UNOG), Nairobi (UNON) and Vienna (UNOV).

  • On 10 November, the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights published a statement informing that UN human rights experts have expressed alarm at the rising rate of violence directed by Israeli settlers towards Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The experts noted that settler violence has taken many forms and declared being very troubled by the failure of Israel, the occupying power, to exercise its substantial obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention, including Article 27, to protect the population under occupation.

  • On 9 November, United Nations agencies and the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory published a statement expressing their concerns about the decision on 7 November of the Military Commander in the West Bank to declare by Military Orders the six Palestinian NGOs as unauthorized in the West Bank. The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the OPT, Lynn Hastings stated that, to date, none of the UN agencies nor AIDA organizations have received evidence substantiating the allegations.

  • On 9 November, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced that the Qatar Fund for Development pledged a US$ 18 million contribution in support of UNRWA's core resources for 2021 and 2022. The Agency is intensifying its outreach to donors and partners ahead of the International Conference on UNRWA that will be held in Brussels on 16 November under the chairpersonship of Jordan and Sweden.

*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.*