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Civil Society and the Question of Palestine - NGO Action News – 29 July 2021

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29 July 2021

Middle East

  • On 24 July, Al-Haq submitted an urgent appeal to the UN Special Procedures on the arbitrary detention of human rights defender, Ms. Shatha Odeh Abu Fannouneh, General Director of the Health Work Committee, by the Israeli forces on 7 July 2021. Al-Haq highlighted Israel’s policy of silencing those human rights defenders whose work in the health services, ensures “development models to all segments of the Palestinian population, particularly the poor and the marginalized,” and effectively challenges Israel’s unlawful policies and practices, as a tool to maintain its “apartheid regime.” Al-Haq urged the UN Special Procedures mandates to call on Israel to ensure and uphold Palestinian detainee Ms. Odeh’s right to the highest attainable standard of health and mental health and to ensure due process.

  • On 21 July, Gisha – Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement issued the press release “Restrictions on Aisles Continue; The Fishing Area Has Been Expanded to 12 Miles”, in which it said that Israel continues to abuse its control of the crossings between Gaza and Israel and the Gaza fishing area, restricts the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza and completely prohibits the entry of building materials while severely harming Gaza residents. Gisha highlighted that this is in contrast to Israel’s legal and moral obligations to allow Gaza residents access to everything necessary for rebuilding and for a normal life.

  • On 21 July, Peace Now shared a legal opinion filed by a group of Israeli international law experts with the Israeli Supreme Court, stating that a Palestinian family from the Silwan neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem facing an eviction application from Jewish Israeli settlers must remain in its home. Peace Now said that the amicus curiae brief prepared by the Israeli experts is relevant to other eviction applications in Silwan and in Sheikh Jarrah, also in East Jerusalem, where over 1,000 Palestinian residents are at risk of being displaced by settlers. Peace Now said that the brief explained that the Palestinian residents’ human right to housing includes a right to continue living in properties that have served as their homes for decades and that they developed certain property rights to these homes.

  • On 18 July, Addameer – Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association issued a press release to denounce the Israeli forces’ launch of a mass arrest campaign of Birzeit University students as they were returning by bus from the village of Turmus Ayya in the occupied West Bank. Addameer stated that the Israeli authorities’ systematic raids and arrest of Birzeit students clearly violate Israel’s obligation as an occupying power to protect educational institutions. The NGO strongly condemned the silencing and repressing of student expression and activism.

  • On 13 July, HaMoked – Centre for the Defence of the Individual informed about the Israeli High Court of Justice’s rejection of its petition against the Israeli military demanding that inheritors of plots trapped in the Seam Zone, between the Separation Wall and the 1967 ‘Green’ Line formally register as owners as a condition for getting a permit to cultivate their lands. HaMoked said it will continue its efforts to curb the permit regime’s ever-growing bureaucracy of dispossession of Palestinians and help farmers access their cut-off plots.

  • On 13 July, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights published the report “In Focus: The Effects of Israel’s Offensive and Tightened Blockade on Gaza’s Patients and Healthcare System”.

Al Mezan said that following the military escalation in the Strip in May 2021, the tightening of Israel’s unlawful closure served to further compound the ongoing humanitarian suffering of more than two million people, and in particular impacted the lives of hundreds of Palestinian patients needing medical care outside Gaza.

  • On 12 July, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) issued the press release “UN Special Procedures Must Respond to Israel’s Latest Steps to Approve the Residency Revocation of Palestinian HRD Salah Hammouri”. CIHRS informed that it had sent a follow-up urgent appeal to UN Special Procedures on the latest actions by Israel to revoke the permanent residency of Palestinian human rights defender Salah Hammouri for so-called “breach of allegiance” to the State of Israel. The NGO had also called on Israel to cease all practices and policies intended to intimidate and silence human rights defenders, in violation of their right to freedom of expression, and repeal its Entry into Israel Law (1952), which according to CIHRS has been used to further the Israeli policy of population transfer and achieve demographic goals in Jerusalem.

Europe

  • On 22 July, the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) informed that 160 academics from 21 countries had urged the European Union (EU) to exclude from its taxpayer-funded research programmes all Israeli academic institutions that are complicit in Israel’s grave violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. ECCP underlined that this marks the first international initiative of EU funding recipients calling on EU institutions to stop funding complicit Israeli academic institutions until they cease their “well-documented and systematic complicity” in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.

North America

  • On 29 July, Americans for Peace Now held the webinar “Relaunching the Peace Process?” with former US senior diplomat Dan Kurtzer and former Israeli cabinet minister Yossi Beilin. The webinar served to explore the need, viability and prospects for success of a re-launched US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

  • On 28 July, the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) held the webinar “Palestinian Liberation & Leadership: What’s Next?” featuring Palestinian analysts Tareq Baconi and Ines Abdel Razek, with Lara Friedman. The webinar served to discuss the current state of Palestinian leadership and address issues including challenges to Palestinian liberation, the role of Palestinian civil society in mobilizing against Israel and the PA and how Palestinians inside of Israel and in the Diaspora fit into the puzzle of Palestinian liberation.

  • On 27 July, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued the report “Gaza: Apparent War Crimes During May Fighting” based on HRW’s research of three attacks by the Israeli military in violation of the laws of war that killed 62 Palestinian civilians and injured dozens more. HRW concluded that an attack that is not directed at a specific military objective is unlawful, and an investigation of the attack should consider whether Israeli forces targeted a military objective and, if there was a legitimate military objective, whether the expected military gain outweighed the anticipated loss of civilian life and property.

  • On 26 July, J Street held a series of webinars with leading Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard on how the Israeli government seizes and controls Palestinian territory. During the event, Mr. Sfard broke down the Israeli government’s decades-long project to settle Palestinian land in the West Bank, entrench permanent Israeli control and prevent Palestinian self-determination and statehood.

  • On 21 July, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USPR) issued the press release “Justice Tastes Better than Complicity: Ben & Jerry’s Must Now End All Business with Apartheid Israel” following the company’s decision to stop selling ice cream in illegal Israeli settlements and to not renew its agreement with its Israeli license when it expires in December 2022. USPR welcomed the decision and stated that it was a significant victory and step forward, “signalling a massive, hard-fought narrative shift toward Palestinian liberation in the US.”

United Nations

  • On 3 August, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will hold closed consultations with civil society organisations from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The meeting will be held as a virtual engagement with CSO representatives from Palestine, Israel and the international community with a special focus on the situations in East Jerusalem and Gaza and on advocacy in the United States.

  • On 28 July, UN Deputy Special Coordinator Lynn Hastings delivered the monthly UNSCO briefing to the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East including the Palestinian question. She called on Israel to implement additional measures to allow unhindered entry into Gaza of all humanitarian assistance, including materials to implement the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan and the Flash Appeal. She added that for any durable stability, movement and access in and out of Gaza must be improved and that any sustainable future in Gaza requires political solutions. She also called on the Palestinian Government to implement much needed reforms, including to the so-called prisoner payment system, and to strengthen the rule of law and accountability. Enhanced cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Government to address outstanding financial challenges on key fiscal and economic files will also be critical. In light of the recent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces and settler-violence in Palestinian villages, she called on Israeli security forces to ensure the protection of Palestinians, in line with Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.

*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.*