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Civil Society and the Question of Palestine - NGO Action News – 24 September 2020

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24 September 2020

Middle East

  • On 24 September, Adalah -- The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel issued a press release to announce it seeks a new hearing following Israeli Supreme Court's decision blocking Israeli Knesset members from visiting Palestinian "security prisoners". Adalah argued that the sweeping ban on visitations by Members of the Knesset to Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israeli prisons violated parliamentarians' immunity and rights.

  • On 23 September, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a press release expressing concern at the the acute shortage of COVID-19 testing kits at the central laboratory of the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) and warning of repercussions of medicines and medical supplies shortage on patients' health. PCHR warned against the collapse of the already fragile and exhausted health sector in Gaza due to the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza Strip for the last 14 years.

  • On 23 September, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) and Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) issued a joint letter "Global Response to Israeli Apartheid: A Call to the UNGA from Palestinian and International Civil Society Organizations". The Palestinian NGOs called on all States to adopt "effective countermeasures, including sanctions, to end Israel's unlawful acquisition of Palestinian territory through use of force, its regime of apartheid, and its denial of our inalienable right to self-determination." They called for international investigations to ascertain individual criminal responsibility for the crime of Apartheid, to reconstitute the UN Special Committee against Apartheid, to ban arms trade with Israel and prohibit all trade with illegal Israeli settlements, among others.

  • On 21 September, Gisha -- Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement issued a report on unemployment in Gaza in the second quarter of 2020, based on the figures released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Unemployment rose by 3.6 per cent compared to the previous quarter, reaching 49.1 per cent. It also notes the drop in workforce among young Gazan women and the increase in the gap between unemployment in Gaza and the West Bank.

  • On 21 September, Al-Haq informed it had sent a letter to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, the Prime Minister of Ireland, urging support for the Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill and the recognition of the State of Palestine, following his assertion in the Irish parliament that the Bill is not in compliance with Ireland's obligations under European Union law. In the letter, Al-Haq assured that the prohibition of the importation and sale of settlement products is not only in full conformity with EU law and policy but would moreover bring Ireland into compliance with its third State obligations.

  • On 18 September, B'Tselem issued the report "August in 'Asirah al-Qibliyah: Settlers and Soldiers Repeatedly Invade Village and Attack Residents" documenting how Palestinian villagers from 'Asirah al-Qibliyah in Nablus district have endured repeated attacks by settlers, including physical assaults and damage to their property and land. B'Tselem collected testimonies where Israeli soldiers only intervened when the Palestinians residents came out to defend their homes and property, firing tear gas canisters and stun grenades at them.

  • On 15 September, Peace Now criticized the Israeli Supreme Court's rejection of an appeal filed by an 82-year-old Palestinian resident of Silwan, ruling that he must vacate his home by November this year in favour of the Elad settler association. Peace Now stated that this story "shows how in the end, what interests the Elad association is to bring as many Jews as possible to live in the heart of the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan for the broader agenda of asserting Israeli sovereignty there [...]."

Europe

  • On 16 September, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) submitted a letter to UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the OPT Jamie McGoldrick in light of outstanding concerns regarding the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) agreed between the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations to allow the entry of reconstruction materials into Gaza following Israel's 2014 military bombardment of the Strip. In their letter, LPHR requested the UN Humanitarian Coordinator information on whether the UN carried out a human rights due diligence assessment when it became party to the GRM and the full publication of the review undertaken by the parties to the agreement in late 2018.

North America

  • On 7 November, The Jerusalem Fund for Education & Community Development will hold its annual conference online. The event "The Future of Palestine" will consist of three panels -- Palestine after annexation and normalization, Solidarity and activism beyond 2020 and Confronting apartheid, achieving equality. Speakers include Ilan Pappe, Mustafa Barghouti, Nour Odeh, Rebecca Vilkomerson and Omar Shakir.

  • On 28 September, Columbia University Centre for Palestine Studies will hold the event "Resisting the Gaslight: Lawyering for Palestinian Rights", which will consist of a conversation with Centre for Constitutional Rights lawyer Diala Shamas, moderated by Professor Rashid Khalidi.

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.*