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Civil Society and the Question of Palestine - NGO Action News – 29 October 2020

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29 October 2020

Middle East

  • On 28 October, Al-Shabaka – The Palestinian Policy Network issued the article “Destroying Palestinian Jerusalem, One Institution at a Time” on the raid and looting by the Israeli police of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, the Yaboos Cultural Centre and the Shafaq Cultural Network in East Jerusalem under the pretext that these institutions “were funding terrorism.” Among its recommendations, Al-Shabaka highlighted the need to emphasize the importance to maintain Palestinian institutions and organizations in the City through financial support and substantive and continuous solidarity efforts.

  • On 28 October, Ir Amim issued the report “Two Months Before the End of the Year, 2020 is Already the Record Year for Home Demolitions in East Jerusalem”. The NGO explained that the main reason for the spike in demolitions was the full enactment of Amendment 116 to the Israeli Planning and Building Law, which resulted in a wider range of Palestinian homes to be considered “illegal” as well as in higher fines on “illegal” Palestinian structures driving their owners to rather demolish their own homes to avoid the imposition of steep fines or other punitive measures.

  • On 27 October, B’Tselem issued the position paper “With or Without Flights to Abu Dhabi, Israel annexed the West Bank Long Ago”. The NGO describes how even without formal annexation, Israel treats the West Bank as its sovereign territory, acting unilaterally for decades to establish and perpetuate Israeli control over the area. The paper details the many ways in which West Bank territory has already been annexed de facto and provides key examples of how Israel continues with its policy even after official annexation has been shelved.

  • On 27 October, Peace Now issued a press release to denounce the granting of permits for 31 settlement units in Hebron by the Israeli Civil Administration ahead of the US election.

  • On 27 October, Al-Haq Centre for Applied International Law concluded its sixth International Law Summer programme in 2020. The course was run online for the first time, allowing the NGO to include participants who in normal situations would not have had the chance to visit Palestine due to travel restrictions imposed by Israel. Participants from 22 countries joined sessions on the application of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the history of the Palestinian question and the humanitarian situation in Gaza among others.

  • On 26 October, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights issued the report “Torture and Abuse of Children Fleeing Gaza’s Humanitarian Catastrophe”. The NGO argues that the deterioration of the socioeconomic conditions in the Gaza Strip due to Israel’s unilateral imposition of 13 years of closure and blockade has led to an alarming number of children to undertake dangerous emigration routes in search of better living conditions and the chance at a dignified life. The report focuses on the arrest and abuse of children attempting to cross the Israeli-implemented and enforced buffer zone, in particular the 91 child victims who tried to cross the perimeter fence into Israel between 2015 and 2019.

  • On 22 October, Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel issued a response to the Israeli Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department decision that it would only consider ‘reckless manslaughter’ charges for the police officer who had killed Eyad al-Hallaq, the 32-year-old autistic Palestinian man. Adalah called for the establishment of a professional, independent committee charged with investigating Israeli police killings of Palestinians.

North America

  • On 7 November, The Jerusalem Fund for Education & Community Development will hold the “2020 Palestine Center Annual Conference: The Future of Palestine”. The virtual event will consist of three panels: “Palestine after annexation and normalization”, “Solidarity and activism beyond 2020”, and “Confronting apartheid, achieving equality”. Speakers will include Omar Shakir, Ghada Karmi and Rebecca Vilkomerson.

  • On 30 October, the Museum of the Palestinian People in Washington, D.C., will hold the webinar “Continuing the Conversation: The Palestinian Diaspora Community in Chile & Colombia” with Marcello Marzouka and Odette Yidi. They will share their family’s diaspora stories, views of what it is like to be a Palestinian in Chilean and Colombian society today, and what they are doing to stay connected to Palestine.

  • On 28 October, J Street issued the press release “Extending US-Israel Agreements to Settlements in Occupied Territory, Trump Administration Hands Another Outrageous Gift to Israeli Right” to denounce an agreement signed by the US administration removing an explicit restriction that had prevented US-Israel scientific research cooperation agreements from including Israeli institutions located in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The NGO stated that even while the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE had put de jure annexation in the West Bank on hold, steps like this agreement show that the US administration is fully empowering the ongoing process of de facto, creeping annexation in the OPT.

  • On 23 October, Human Rights Watch issued a press release asking that the US State Department should not seek to discredit the work of human rights organizations using “disingenuous accusations of anti-Semitism in an attempt to muzzle people who criticize an ally” and that “curtailing legitimate criticism of the Israeli government will only harm rights protections for people in Israel and Palestine.”

United Nations

  • On 12 November, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will hold the virtual panel “International Parliamentarians and the Question of Palestine”. The virtual 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.

  • On 22 October, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967 Michael Lynk submitted his fifth report to the UN General Assembly. The report addresses a number of concerns pertaining to the situation in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and in Gaza and covers the impact of Covid-19, Israel’s planned annexation and illegal settlement expansion, Gaza blockade, Child detainees, as well as the issues of accountability, impunity and responsibility of the international community with a focus on the UNHRC database of business enterprises in Israeli settlements. The Rapporteur called upon all States maintaining diplomatic or consular relations with Israel to issue a formal declaration that they do not recognize Israel’s authority with regard to the OPT, to ensure that all corporate enterprises regulated by them cease any investment of any sort in the Israeli settlements, to not permit the entry of any goods and serviced produced in the Israeli settlements, among others.

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.