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Civil Society and the Question of Palestine - NGO Action News –14 January 2021

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14 January 2021

Middle East

  • On 14 January, Adalah -- The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel issued a press release to demand Israel provides immediate Covid-19 vaccines for Palestinian Jerusalemites living behind the Wall, for example the residents of Kufr Aqab and Sh'afat refugee camp. Adalah lamented Israel had not established any Covid-19 vaccination stations to serve these neighbourhoods although its residents have suffered from skyrocketing rates of infection and morbidity.

  • On 14 January, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) and the Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO) issued a press release to express their concern about the discriminatory way Israeli authorities have implemented policy since commencing the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine, disregarding their obligations to Palestinians' healthcare. The Palestinian networks called on Israel to immediately comply with its obligations under international law to the occupied population in Gaza and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, by ensuring the provision of vaccines to all persons in the territory under its control as well as to Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli facilities.

  • On 13 January, Peace Now issued the press release "Hundreds of Settlements Units to Be Advanced Ahead of Biden Presidency" where it informed that Israel had approved a combined 684 units at minimum, to be advanced in a plan to retroactively legalize the outpost of Havat Yair. Peace Now said that the upcoming round of advancements represents the first in 2021, following a record year for units in plans advanced in 2020 and will come out four days before the US presidential inauguration.

  • On 12 January, B'Tselem published the report "A Regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is Apartheid". The paper analyses how the Israeli regime works to advance its goals in the entire area under its control, presents the principles that guide the regime, demonstrates how it implements them and concludes that such a regime fulfils the definition of 'apartheid'. Points tackled by B'Tselem in the paper include taking over land for Jews while crowding Palestinians in enclaves, restriction of Palestinians' freedom of movement and denial of their right to political participation.

  • On 11 January, five Israeli human rights organizations -- Physicians for Human Rights/Israel, Adalah, HaMoked and Rabbis for Human Rights -- informed they petitioned Israel's High Court of Justice against the decision of the Minister of Public Security to prohibit the Israel Prison Service (IPS) from vaccinating prisoners at this time. The petitioning organizations demand the IPS be ordered to vaccinate the entire prisoner population according to the prioritization set by the Ministry of Health (prisoners aged 60 and older or with pre-existing medical conditions) and requested the High Court to void the Minister's decision to prioritize the vaccination of prison staff, at the expense of prisoners.

  • On 11 January, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights and the Independent Commission for Human Rights hosted a reception in honour of Mr. Issam Younis, Al Mezan's Director-General, upon his receipt of the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law. Al Mezan said that this joint French and German prize has been awarded annually to human rights defenders who have made an exceptional contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights in their countries.

  • On 4 January, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association published its 2019 annual report (Arabic) on its activities, including legal assistance to Palestinian prisoners and their families based on international legal norms, raising awareness of local authorities, civil society and international community on the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, capacity-building and engagement of Palestinian youth, among others.

Europe

  • On 14 January, the European Coordination of Committees and Association for Palestine (ECCP) issued the press release "Catastrophic Effects of the Siege of Gaza: the EU Must Act Now to Stop this Crime". In the context of a further deteriorating situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Strip, ECCP asked the EU to impose sanctions against Israel as long as it persists in its serious violations of international law and the siege of Gaza, to open a direct dialogue with the current authorities in Gaza, while favouring all efforts to reach an agreement of national unity between the Palestinian parties, to immediately prepare a health intervention plan for Gaza with the opening of a dedicated line of funding and to remove constraints placed on the disbursement of funds to Palestinian NGOs.

North America

  • On 22 January, Columbia University Palestine Studies Centre will launch "LIFTA X CPS Present: Palestine, In-Between", a semester-long programme that explores contemporary Palestinian cultures and yearnings across generations in Palestine and its diaspora through media including live panels, original videos, podcasts, essays, film screening and social media campaigns.

  • On 14 January, J Street will open the registration for its annual virtual conference planned for 18-19 April. The event will include plenaries on American politics and opportunities to build new coalitions, the situation on the ground in Israel, Palestine and the region and the chances of and strategies for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • On 11 January, Americans for Peace Now issued a press release to condemn the Israeli push for West Bank settlement expansion on the eve of Biden inauguration, following an announcement by Prime Minister Netanyahu on the approval of 850 housing units in existing settlements, including about 100 units in the settlement of Tal Menashe to avenge the recent murder of one of its residents, as well as the legalization of some 250 homes in the illegal outpost of Nofei Nehemia.

United Nations

  • On 14 January, UNRWA released an official statement informing on its review of self-learning material to ensure full adherence to highest UN principles. UNRWA reiterated its zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and for incitement to hatred and violence in its school and in all its operations and reminded it uses curricula in its schools provided by host countries, to enable its students to transition to host country educational systems at any level and to participate in the social and economic life of the host country more broadly, consistent with UN practice in all refugee situations.

  • On 14 January, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, and Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health, Tlaleng Mofokeng, called on Israel to ensure swift and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for the Palestinian people under occupation. The UN experts said that 5 million Palestinians will remain unprotected and exposed to Covid-19, while Israeli citizens living near and among them -- including the Israeli settler population -- will be vaccinated and added, "[m]orally and legally, this differential access to necessary health care in the midst of the worst global health crisis in a century is unacceptable."

  • On 11 January, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, called on Israel to reverse its eviction orders for Palestinian families living in Occupied East Jerusalem in light of "an alarming pattern to change the demography of the city." Lynk said that the eviction orders seem to be aimed at clearing the way for the establishment of more illegal Israeli settlements in the area and physically segregating and fragmenting East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. He denounced the two Israeli organizations that have brought many of the eviction lawsuits -- Nahalat Shimon and Ateret Cohanim -- and that function as both land ownership companies and settler associations.

  • On 13 January, UNVolunteers and UNWomen launched the "UNV-UN Women Young Leaders Programme" inviting 10 future women leaders from the Global South to serve as UN Youth Volunteers with UN Women in its Headquarters. The deadline for application is 25 January 2021.

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.*