Archive for the 'Civil Society' Category

Behind a Firewall: Repercussions of the PA ‘Electronic Crimes Law’

PRESS RELEASE
ADDAMEER

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ADDAMEER has published a new FACTSHEET about the presidential decree entitled the ‘Electronic Crimes Law’ issued in June 2017.

Over the past month, the Palestinian Authority has increased the pressure on journalists and voices of dissent within the West Bank. This attempt to silence dissenting voices was formalized in the form of a Presidential decree entitled ‘The Electronic Crimes Law’.

Since it has been issued, 30 or so websites have been blocked for access by West Bank IP address, six journalists have been arrested, and four others have been brought in for questioning based on social media posts.

The websites banned are primarily associated with Hamas, or the exiled Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan; and the journalists who have been arrested have been primarily associated with Hamas.

As stated in the Fact Sheet,

“The fact that these websites are run by political rivals to the current ruling faction of the PA indicates that that these laws are being and, will continue to be used, to stifle free speech, legitimate decent, and discussions regarding the state of politics in Palestine.

Addameer confirms that the PA is legally bound to respect and fulfill the right to freedom of expression as stated in Article 19 of the ICCPR. The PA must also guarantee that any of its laws attempting to criminalize or otherwise regulate using any type of information technology complies with its international obligations.

Furthermore, Addameer urges that the Palestinian Authority must abide by the conventions to which it is a party, especially considering the ongoing deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

PFLP in Kobar urges broad campaign to rebuild demolished homes of resistance strugglers

PRESS RELEASE
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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The Popular Front for the Liberation in the village of Kobar northwest of Ramallah urged the building of a broad popular campaign to rebuild the home of the family of Palestinian prisoner Omar Abdel-Jalil al-Abed and open the streets of the village.

On Thursday, 17 August, masked youths of the PFLP in Kobar went to the family home, attacked and bulldozed by the occupation forces, and decorated it with Palestinian flags. They painted on the remaining walls and throughout the village “Al-Fida’i Omar al-Abed” (The struggler, Omar al-Abed) as well as the image of Omar on the main street at the entrance to the village, sending a message to the occupation that the people embrace the resistance and their families. Read more »

UNHCHR deeply concerned about deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza

PRESS STATEMENT
Ravina Shamdasani: Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Israel, as the occupying power, has responsibility under international humanitarian law to ensure the well-being of the population.

Photo: Ezz Zanoun/Al Jazeera

Photo: Ezz Zanoun/Al Jazeera

Location: Geneva
Subject: Gaza

We are deeply concerned about the steady deterioration in the humanitarian conditions and the protection of human rights in Gaza.

At the height of summer, with soaring temperatures, electricity provision has not risen above six hours per day since the beginning of the current crisis in April, and has often been under four hours. This has a grave impact on the provision of essential health, water and sanitation services. Power outages threaten the life and well-being of vulnerable groups, particularly those needing urgent medical care. We have observed an increasingly dire situation for the men, women and children of Gaza amid a deepening economic crisis, coupled with continuing restrictions on movement and freedom of expression. The desperate situation has also contributed to violent crime, domestic violence, including femicides, and attempted suicides, although exact data is hard to obtain.

Israel, the State of Palestine and the authorities in Gaza are not meeting their obligations to promote and protect the rights of the residents of Gaza. Israel, as the occupying power, has responsibility under international humanitarian law to ensure the well-being of the population. Israel, the State of Palestine and the authorities in Gaza also have clear concurrent human rights obligations towards the Palestinians in Gaza. The Israeli blockade and closure continue to disproportionately affect the civilian population and must be lifted. The recent measures to decrease the provision of electricity, and to cut the salaries and order early retirement of civil servants in Gaza, are having a direct, negative impact on the social and economic rights of Gazans. The lack of transparency in the use of resources, and the continuing suppression of freedom of speech and assembly by the authorities raise further concerns for the protection of fundamental rights of the population in the Gaza Strip.

We urge Israel, the State of Palestine and the authorities in Gaza to uphold the human rights of the population in Gaza. We also call on the international community to respond to the UN’s urgent appeal for humanitarian aid, to honour pledges made to support reconstruction and development of Gaza, and to work with the parties to bring a resolution to the current crisis.

Over 250 European organisations call for end of European complicity in occupation of Palestine

PRESS STATEMENT
Justice for Palestine

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Justice for Palestine now – end EUROPEAN complicity!

A call from organizations throughout Europe.

2017 marks:

– 100 years since the « Balfour Declaration » of 1917, through which the British government unilaterally promised the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine;

– 70 years since the partition plan of Palestine, adopted by the UN in 1947, which resulted in the 1948 Nakba, the demolition of more than 530 Palestinian villages and the expulsion of 750 000 Palestinians from their homeland, thus a process of ethnic cleansing;

– 50 years since the beginning of Israel’s occupation in 1967 of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, and an ongoing process of colonization and prolonged occupation by the State of Israel.

The continued dispossession of Palestinians of their land and their livelihood, including house demolition, land confiscation and apartheid wall; the denial of their culture and memory; the ten-year Gaza blockade creating severe inhuman conditions along with the recurrent military attacks on its population; the constant repression, resulting presently in over 7000 prisoners including more than 400 children held in military detention; the disastrous plight of Palestinian refugees further worsened by the war in Syria; and the draconian discriminatory laws in Israel itself: these facts, the fruits of over 100 years of denial of the rights of the Palestinian people, can no longer be accepted.

The anniversaries marked by the year 2017 remind us of the degree to which the colonial mindset, the denial of the rights of the Palestinian people, and the refusal to apply international law and UN resolutions lead to disaster. Read more »

UN rights experts: Human rights defenders under growing legal pressure in the OPT

PRESS STATEMENT
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Photo: Electronic Intifada

Photo: Electronic Intifada

GENEVA (16 December 2016) – Human rights activists working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory face daily violations of some of the most fundamental protections afforded by international human rights and humanitarian laws, two United Nations independent experts said today.

“We have received a worrying number of complaints in recent months regarding human rights defenders who are arrested and, in many cases, arbitrarily detained, often apparently as a direct result of their important work in their communities,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the OPT, Michael Lynk, and the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Michel Forst.

“Human rights work is critical to creating a just society and maintaining peace and security. These are the goals all parties ultimately share,” the experts stressed. “However, it appears that rights defenders are facing ever greater challenges in the OPT.”

The Special Rapporteurs drew special attention to the cases against Issa Amro, founder of the Hebron-based group Youth Against Settlements, and Farid al-Atrash, a lawyer from Hebron, who were arrested due to their participation in a peaceful protest in February of this year. Mr. Amro is currently facing trial in an Israeli military court on 18 charges dating back to 2010, including participation in a rally without a permit. Read more »

Erez trap: A tighter grip on the Gaza Strip

Palestinian Information Center

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It has been three months since the Israeli authorities arrested Akram Yassin, a 35-year-old businessman from Gaza, as he passed through Erez Crossing in the north of the Gaza Strip.

Yassin is a Palestinian businessman from Gaza. He is a transporter of food and feed with an Israeli commercial permit to pass through Erez Crossing. Yassin was arrested at Erez Crossing, like 30 other Gaza businessmen who have been arrested since the start of 2015, in a new Israeli means to suffocate the Strip economically. Read more »

Women’s Day in Gaza

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Palestinian women gathered Sunday outside the UN offices in Rimal.

The lingering loss, sadness and pain are all too obvious – despite their attempts at cheer there is little for women to celebrate in a Gaza still devastated by the Israeli offensive six months ago. Almost every one of these women and girls lost a mother, a sister, a daughter, a cousin, an aunt, a grandmother, a niece, a grandaughter, a friend – and almost every one of them is struggling to survive under a crippling – and illegal – blockade. But surviving they are.

Kia kaha!

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Palestinian survivor of Israeli torture denied new trial by US judge

MEDIA ADVISORY
Rasmea Defense Committee

Rasmea Odeh

Rasmea Odeh

Chicago’s 67-year-old Palestinian community leader, Rasmea Odeh, is set to appear in a Detroit federal court for sentencing on March 12, following her conviction on a single charge of Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization. Three days ago, Judge Gershwin Drain issued an order denying two motions by Odeh’s defense team. One motion called for a new trial because of a number of legal errors in the court’s rulings in her November trial; another called for the judge to set aside the jury’s decision altogether.

“Since both defense motions challenged how Drain conducted the trial, it came as no surprise when he ruled against Rasmea, and in support of his own decisions,” said Hatem Abudayyeh of the Rasmea Defense Committee. “We know that the conviction was a travesty of justice, and that Judge Drain’s rulings made it impossible for the jury to give Rasmea a fair shake. She survived brutal torture by the Israelis, but the jury never got to hear that.” Read more »

Kiwis helping on the ground in Beit Hanoun

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Kiwi kindness has again lifted the spirits and living standards of the once-thriving-now-destroyed agricultural centre of Beit Hanoun, in North Gaza. In November 2014 Salwa Abu Nijila distributed blankets, clothes and groceries to 30 families, bought with donations from New Zealanders.

Ninety needy families are benefitting from this latest Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand (FIANZ)/Kiwi Trust project. According to Salwa, about nine families a day ask her for help, and she has about 500 very needy on her list, so she has had to prioritise.

Read more »

The difference between children

By Gideon Levy
Source: Haaretz
August 24, 2014

 Palestinian mourners cry at Gaza City's al-Shifa hospital after an explosion killed at least seven children in a public playground Photo by AFP

Palestinian mourners cry at Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital after an explosion killed at least seven children in a public playground Photo by AFP

It is human that the killing of an Israeli boy, a child of ours, would arouse greater identification than the death of some other child. What is incomprehensible is the Israeli response to the killing of their children.

After the first child, nobody batted an eye; after the 50th not even a slight tremor was felt in a plane’s wing; after the 100th, they stopped counting; after the 200th, they blamed Hamas. After the 300th child they blamed the parents. After the 400th child, they invented excuses; after (the first) 478 children nobody cares.

Then came our first child and Israel went into shock. Read more »

UN Schools – No Shelter for Civilians

By Huda Droll

Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, two different cities in Gaza, two different families in Gaza, both suffering from the same bombing that will change their lives forever.

Najah Mohammed Abel Dayem

Najah Mohammed Abel Dayem

War is a terrifying experience. It can and does cause serious injuries from high stress levels, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. All of this, and you are not actually being bombed. Just being in the war itself is quite a traumatic event.

Two stories of two Palestinian families who fled their homes with their families at the request of the Israelis. The Israelis even told the families where to go. These two families listened, to be safe they left their houses and all they knew about home for an UNWRA school in Jabaliya. Both families weighed the outcome of staying or going. They decided on family first. They both decided to evacuate due to the location instructed by the Israelis. Both families, like all of Gaza, felt the United Nations (UN) would protect them. Read more »

Joint Declaration by International Law Experts on Israel’s Gaza Offensive

The International Community Must End Israel’s Collective Punishment of the Civilian Population in the Gaza Strip

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As international and criminal law scholars, human rights defenders, legal experts and individuals who firmly believe in the rule of law and in the necessity for its respect in times of peace and more so in times of war, we feel the intellectual and moral duty to denounce the grave violations, mystification and disrespect of the most basic principles of the laws of armed conflict and of the fundamental human rights of the entire Palestinian population committed during the ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. Read more »

Urgent call from Gaza civil society: Act now!

Palestinians mourn victims of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, 12 July. (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

Palestinians mourn victims of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, 12 July. (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

We Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip call on conscientious people all over the world to act, protest and intensify the boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murderous attack on our people and is held to account.

With the world turning their backs on us once again, for the last four days we in Gaza have been left to face massacre after massacre. As you read these words, over 120 Palestinians are dead now, including 25 children. Over 1,000 have been injured including countless horrifying injuries that will limit lives forever –- more than two thirds of the injured are women and children. Read more »

Attacks on Al Wafa hospital: When moral capacity is absent, what then?

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Al Wafa Hospital

Al Wafa Hospital

Four Israeli missiles smashed into Al Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital at 2am Friday, in what can only be described as a barbaric war crime. Israel calls it ‘roof knocking.’ It is usually the precursor to a major attack that destroys the building and all within it.

The 14 patients who remain in the facility are all high-dependency, and unable to be transferred elsewhere. Many are intubated, a quarter are comatose, most are fully or partially paralysed and unable to mobilise. They range in age from 13 years to over 80, and about half are in their 20’s and 30’s. Read more »

Gaza health ministry to declare state of emergency

Gaza – Government Information Office

European Hospital in KHan Younes attacked tonight in Israeli airstrike causing significant material damage

European Hospital in KHan Younes attacked tonight in Israeli airstrike causing significant material damage

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza announced on Tuesday evening that it would have to declare a state of emergency in all medical facilities in the event of continued “Israeli”escalation in the Gaza Strip.

Undersecretary Yusuf Abu Rish told the press conference that they would also
have to cancel outpatient clinics of the Ministry of Health, to be able to save lives. Read more »

Palestinian National Youth Council to be formed

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AlRay

by Abdulqader Hassona

The recently-formed youth consultative council has announced its prime objective is to form a national body for Palestinian youth with representation from young people in all provinces. Read more »

Vittorio Arrigoni Commemoration in Gaza: “I am a diamond, and you cannot break me.”

By Julie Webb-Pullman

On April 15 a group of Palestinians, Italians, and an assortment of other nationalities bussed down to Khan Younis to honour Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian activist murdered on this day in Gaza three years ago. Vik, as he was popularly known, was widely loved and respected by the farmers and fishermen whom he accompanied to deter Israeli attacks against them during their work, as well as by the many he helped during Operation Cast Lead.

Arriving at the home of a farmer who worked with Vik, the group was led to a memorial erected in his honour in the front garden of the farmhouse, surrounded with palms and plants, and adorned with posters and Palestinian flags.

Memorial to Vittorio Arrigoni on Khan Younis farm

Memorial to Vittorio Arrigoni on Khan Younis farm

Read more »

Spring is sprung in Gaza

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Red! Yellow! Orange! Purple! Blue! Not just colours of the rainbow, but also the vibrant flora and fauna on display in Gaza City for the past week in the spring festival at Al Jundy square.

Birds met rabbits met fish met monkeys – creatures from the four corners of the world displayed in a celebration of life surrounded by an only slightly less-diverse selection of trees, plants, succulents, and flowers.

Day and night Palestinians have thronged the square to gaze upon things they could never otherwise hope to see from their besieged open-air prison.

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Tale of Two Cities: Ramallah, Gaza and the Identity Crisis

Column – Ramzy Baroud

The distance between Gaza and Ramallah in sheer miles is hardly significant. But in actuality, both cities represent two different political realities, with inescapable cultural and socioeconomic dimensions. Their geopolitical horizons are vastly different as well – Gaza is situated within its immediate Arab surroundings and turmoil, while Ramallah is westernized in too many aspects to count. In recent years, the gap has widened like never before.

Of course, Gaza and Ramallah were always, in some ways, unalike. Demographics, size, topography and geographic proximity to Arab countries with different political priorities have always made them separate and distinctive. But the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 had decisively removed Ramallah from its Jordanian element, and Gaza from its Egyptian political milieu. Although they are both Palestinian towns, decades of spinning in the background of collective Arab affairs created a distance that at times felt too great to condense. The Israeli occupation however revitalized that common Palestinian experience of a shared struggle against a common enemy. Despite its many shortcomings, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) eventually filled the gap of leadership, thus unifying the ranks of Palestinians in Ramallah, Gaza, and the Palestinian Diaspora.   Read more »

Gordon Campbell on the selective morality towards Syria

Column – Gordon Campbell

As Prime Minister John Key said at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press conference, the briefings on Syria and the exchanges of views New Zealand has been engaged in with its allies has indicated to him that “regime change” (i.e., the toppling of the Assad regime) is not the purpose of the military action that is currently being contemplated – whether that be a multilateral military effort condoned by the UN Security Council or a unilateral strike led by the United States with the direct (or tacit) support of some of its allies. No, Key said, he did not think New Zealand could be counted among the list of such allies, at this stage.

Syria has never agreed to the main international treaty against chemical weapons. It happens to be one of the few countries (there are only five: Angola, North Korea, South Sudan and Egypt are the others) that have not signed and do not accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The reason for this is explained in this excellent and detailed history of how Syria came to develop chemical weapons in the first placeRead more »

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