Civil Society and the Question of Palestine - NGO Action news – 14 June 2019

Report
from UN Information Centres
Published on 14 Jun 2019 View Original

Middle East

  • On 12 June, Al-Haq issued a statement condemning the comments made by US Ambassador to Israel Friedman during his interview with the New York Times, according to which Israel has “the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank […] under certain circumstances.” Al-Haq stated that Friedman “encouraged Israel to commit flagrant violations of international law, in full contempt of Palestinians’ inalienable and non-negotiable human rights.” The NGO called on the U.S. to clarify its position on Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank and to confirm whether the Ambassador’s statements represent current US policy, “in contravention of international law.”

  • On 12 June, B’Tselem issued a press release to condemn the “deliberate targeting” of homes in Gaza by Israel, in reference to another round of hostilities between Israel and militant organizations in Gaza on 3-6 May. B’Tselem stated that “common sense and past experience have proven, time and again, that Israel cannot unleash military power in Gaza without unbearable, lethal consequences for civilians there – including the killing of women and children.” The NGO called for the international community to reject the claim made by Israel that the attacks are conform to international humanitarian law.

  • On 12 June, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued the fact sheet “Gaza Strip: Attacks in the Border Areas and their Consequences”. PCHR explained that Israeli forces have escalated their attacks against Palestinian civilians, including farmers and fishers, preventing them from safe and free access to their lands and fishing areas, in violation of their rights to security, personal safety and protection of property. PCHR also argued that the enforcement of a “buffer zone” by Israel through the use of live fire, which has often led to the direct targeting of civilians, was a war crime and in grave violation of the Geneva Conventions.

  • On 9 June, Addameer – Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association published the report “Education within the Israeli Prisons: A deliberate Policy to De-educate”, based on interviews it conducted, jointly with Terre des Hommes (TdH) Italy, with Palestinian children from East Jerusalem between September and December 2018. Addameer shared the findings, which revealed that 25 per cent of children did not receive any education during detention, while the rest received education that was evaluated as inadequate and not in line with their needs. Addameer called on the Israeli authorities to respect the right to education and meet its obligations towards Jerusalemite children.

  • On 5 June, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) issued the report “Israel established dual regime in the West Bank”, to denounce a sequence of laws and decisions to institutionalize a discriminatory rule of annexation and occupation. These include the Illegal Outpost Regulation Law; the transfer of all Palestinian’s petitions from the High Court of Justice to the Jerusalem District Court, the application of the Higher Education Law to academic institutions in the settlements, and the amendment of the Prohibition of Discrimination in Products Law. ACRI explained that these laws were not only intended to benefit the settlers and harm the rights of the Palestinian resident, they also undermine fundamental principles of the laws of belligerent occupation.

  • On 4 June, EuroMed Rights, together with 32 international, European, Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations, sent a joint letter to the European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini and the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs to express concern about the forthcoming US administration’s plan for the Middle East. The letter calls on the European Union and its member states to lead on the issue of Israel/Palestine with a human rights-based approach and to reject a plan that does not embrace principles of international law. Ahead of the US-led economic workshop, planned in Bahrain on 25-26 June, the letter urges the EU to counter any efforts, both economic and political, aimed at undermining these principles.

North America

  • On 12 June, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued the report “Gaza: Unlawful Attacks in May Fighting” in which the NGO states, based on field investigation and interviews of 20 Palestinians and Israelis who were survivors and witnesses to attacks, that fighting between Israel and Palestine armed groups in Gaza in early May 2019 involved unlawful attacks by both sides. HRW said that both sides have a duty to investigate allegations of serious violations of the laws of war and the failing to do so highlights the importance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor opening a formal investigation into the situation in Palestine.

  • This week, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) announced it was organizing a letter from Jewish leaders and community members in support to the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act” (H.R. 2407) introduced by the US House of Representatives. JVP is launching this petition as a partner of the “No Way to Treat a Child” campaign led by Defence Children International – Palestine.

United Nations

  • On 11 June, UNRWA issued a press release to announce that in the context of a performance assessment commissioned by some of the world’s top donors the Agency was found “competent, resilient and resolute,” with an overall rating of “highly satisfactory” in four of the 11 areas evaluated. The assessment commended UNRWA for “its strong management, robust and resilient organizational architecture, strategic vision and effective programme delivery, as well as the capacity and commitment of its workforce and its strategic approach to resource mobilization.”

Upcoming Events

  • On 27 and 28 June, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), with support from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, will convene the International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem “Preserving the cultural and religious character of Jerusalem” at the United Nations Office at Geneva. The Conference, which will bring together Palestinian, Israeli and international experts, representatives of the diplomatic community and civil society, will address the issue of Israel’s policies and measures aimed at changing the character of Jerusalem and seek to formulate concrete recommendations for the preservation of a City, considered sacred by three religions.

  • On 25 June, the Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to UNRWA will meet at United Nations Headquarters. The conference, established by GA Resolution 1729, is the primary forum for the announcement by Member States of their financial support for UNRWA. Opening remarks will be made by UN Secretary-General, president of the UN General Assembly and UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, followed by Member States’ statements. The meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee can be watched live on http://webtv.un.org/.

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.