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Civil Society and the Question of Palestine - NGO Action News – 22 October 2020

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22 October 2020

Middle East

  • On 22 October, Israeli NGOs including Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, Akevot, Emek Shaveh and Rabbis for Human Rights issued a press release to denounce what they term “harassment” of United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) staff by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The NGOs criticized the Ministry’s decision to stop issuing visas for international staff of OHCHR, which has been operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1996, and demanded for the decision to be reversed.

  • On 21 October, Al-Haq informed it participated in a consultation session organized by the Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights, as part of the Coalition’s Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Project. Al Haq said the project aims at developing a policy paper and a draft legislation to call on the Irish government to initiate legislation on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence in Ireland. The NGO briefed on corporations’ adverse impacts on the human rights of the Palestinian people, and their role in sustaining and strengthening the Israeli occupation.

  • On 20 October, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and others issued a joint statement to urge Israel to allow the administrative detainee Maher al-Akhras, who has been on hunger strike since 27 July and reportedly is in danger of dying, to move to a West Bank hospital or to release him immediately before it is too late. The NGOs said that this case highlights the continued and excessive use of administrative detention in Israel – a procedure that allows the Israeli military commander to hold detainees indefinitely without revealing the allegations against them.

  • On 19 October, B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence issued a press release to inform about the visit of representatives of 17 countries, including European Union members, to Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, whose residents Israel is seeking to expel and who are awaiting a forthcoming ruling by Israel’s High Court of Justice in the last petition in their decades-long struggle. The NGOs stated that they will not stay silent when soldiers are sent to expel people from their homes, “in which they lived long before the first Israeli soldier set foot in the West Bank.”

  • On 18 October, Gisha – Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement criticized the incursion of Israeli bulldozers into the Gaza Strip in order to raze vegetation, flatten roads and expose the terrain for “security reasons”. Gisha stated that the repeated ongoing harm inflicted by Israel to farmers’ livelihoods is “grave and must stop, especially during a global economic crisis, amid concerns over food security for Gaza’s residents.”

  • On 15 October, Physicians for Human Rights Israel issued the press release “Medical Associations from Around the World Back our Demand to Ensure Medical Treatment for Gaza’s Children” to support the involvement of professional organizations in Israel and abroad for sending an essential message with respect to the role played by the medical community. Physicians for Human Rights explained that hundreds of patients from Gaza have had trouble accessing medical treatment as a combined result of the breakdown of coordination between the Palestinian and Israeli authorities and the tightened Israeli restrictions on exit permits.

  • On 14 October, Yesh Din published the article “A World Turned Upside-Down: The Residents of Burqa’s Struggle to Return to their Land, Where the Evacuated Israeli Settlement Homesh Once Stood” to denounce how Palestinian residents in the northern occupied West Bank are denied unrestricted access to their privately-owned land in a former Israeli settlement. Yesh Din lamented that the settlers continue to enter the are and occupy it, after it was evacuated and Palestinians, in contrast, are denied or restricted access to their private property because of arbitrary army restrictions on farmers or settler violence.

Europe

  • On 21 October, the Palestinian Return Centre organized a digital seminar under the title “The History of Palestine and the Right of Return” as part of a virtual student conference held in London. The seminar, which saw the participation of researchers and academics including Ilan Pappe, Hosni Hammouda and activist Farah Qateina, provided an overview of the Nakba, the repercussions of the Israeli occupation and mass displacement waves that occurred in 1948.

  • On 15 October, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) issued a statement informing about the investigation of a UK-based construction equipment company “JCB” , in relation to the use of its heavy machinery in Israel’s illegal demolitions and settlements in the OPT, potenrially resulting in serious human rights violations, after a UK government body found that key aspects of a human rights complaint by the NGO are “material and substantiated.” LPHR informed it had submitted evidence showing JCB’s machinery was being used to demolish homes and other structures in Area C.

North America

  • On 20 October, the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) held the webinar “A Founding Generation of Looters: New Research on Israeli Theft of Palestinian Property in 1948” with Adam Raz (Akevot) and Yousef Munayyer (Arab Centre Washington DC). The event served to discuss Israeli historian Adam Raz’s research “The Conspiracy of Silence”, which sheds light on the phenomenon of widespread theft by Israel’s founding generation and the political impact it has on Israel’s relations with Palestinians and the fate of Palestinian refugees. United Nations

  • On 12 November, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will hold the virtual event “International Parliamentarians and the Question of Palestine”. The event will highlight the work of parliamentarians from three different continents – Africa, Europe and North America – in support of the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people while promoting a just resolution of the question of Palestine and leading to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in peace and security. It will highlight how efforts within national constituencies have translated into concrete actions at the national and international levels while identifying impediments to moving forward.

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.