Palestine

Palestinian CSOs branded ‘terrorist organisations’ and surveilled by Pegasus spyware

The situation for Palestinian civil society organisations continues to deteriorate following Israel’s designation of six Palestinian civil society organisations as "terrorist organisations" under Israel's Counter-Terrorism Law of 2016 on 19th October 2021. In an additional concern, investigations revealed that 'Pegasus' spyware had been installed on the mobile phones of six human rights defenders, which included some staff of the six designated organisations. Read more

Palestinian CSOs branded ‘terrorist organisations’ and surveilled by Pegasus spyware

Violations continue: CSOs Offices raided, HRDs arrested, women reporters attacked

On 16th August 2021, the headquarters of the Pioneers Association for Culture and Arts, and the Pioneers Vocational Training Center in Aida camp in Bethlehem was raided. On the other hand, on 7th July 2021, Israeli occupying forces (IOF) raided the home of Shatha Odeh Abu Fannouneh (Ms. Odeh) in Ramallah, arbitrarily detaining her and using gas grenades to terrorise her family. Odeh is the chairwoman of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) and serves as the Director of the Health Work Committee (HWC). Protests were staged following the death of activist Nizar Banat as a result of Palestinan security force action on 24th June 2021. According to Amnesty International, Palestinian security forces beat protesters and bystanders and used sound grenades, tear gas and other force to disperse them. Women were particularly targeted, many of them journalists, including with sexual assault during protests. Read more

Violations continue: CSOs Offices raided, HRDs arrested, women reporters attacked

Journalists, protesters detained and killed; activists censored in Palestinian uprising

The months of April and May 2021 saw the worst Palestinian-Israeli conflict in years. In mid April 2021 six families who have been living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem since the 1950s where threatened with eviction. This sparked protests from residents of Sheikh Jarrah, with many Palestinians joining the protests. Clashes broke out during the protests, with Israeli forces using excessive force against protesters. In response, young Israeli Jews also marched, calling for “death to Arabs”. Following this, on 7th May 2021, during Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, Israeli police were deployed, resulting in the injury of over 200 Palestinians. Palestinian militant Islamist group Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, issued an ultimatum to Israel, threatening to attack if it did not withdraw its armed forces from the mosque compound and Sheikh Jarrah. Failing to adhere to this call, Hamas fired a rocket on 10th May 2021. Israel responds with airstrikes on Gaza, killing two children. The exchange of airstrikes continued, killing at least 248 Palestinians and 66 children. On 20th May 2021, after 11 days of violence, a cease fire is reached. As a result of these developments journalists have been killed and detained, while activists campaigning for #SaveSheikhJarrah have been targeted and censored.
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Journalists, protesters detained and killed; activists censored in Palestinian uprising


Amendments to Law on Charitable Associations and CSOs seek to restrict civic space further

Following the amendment of Law No. 1 on Charitable Associations and Civil Society Organisations and publication in the official papers on 2nd February 2021, civil society organisations (CSOs) issued a statement to express their absolute rejection of this law due to concerns that it intends to further restrict civic space. In another development, MADA Center documentation indicates a decline in the number of violations in Palestine, with 21 violations in February 2021, compared to a total of 37 violations during January 2021. The violations include the obstructing journalists from doing their work, harassment and detention of journalists.
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Amendments to Law on Charitable Associations and CSOs seek to restrict civic space further

Calls for #UNInvestigateApartheid as Israel attempts to silence civil society groups at UN

During the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Palestinian human rights organisations, through a joint statement, shed light on the systematic violations taking place due to the Israeli occupations. Palestinian organisations stated that such occupations were aimed at silencing their activities, including their advocacy work at the United Nations. On 1st October 2020, Israel attempted to silence civil society groups at the UNHRC for condemning its imposition of apartheid on the Palestinian people. This attempt comes as a global letter signed by 452 civil society groups worldwide called on the UN to take responsibility for investigating and eradicating Israeli apartheid. In addition, Israel’s judicial harassment of human rights defenders (HRDs) continue to take place. In a separate development, many of the protests which took place during the reporting period were due to the normalisation agreements signed between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain and the Israeli occupation forces. Despite COVID-19 and its impact on public activities, there has been an increase in violations against journalists and media outlets while covering Palestinian activities. Read more

Calls for #UNInvestigateApartheid as Israel attempts to silence civil society groups at UN

Violations of freedom of expression continue unabated during COVID-19 pandemic

Measures imposed to address coronavirus (COVID-19) in Palestine and the declaration of a state of emergency, which has now been extended to 5th June 2020, further targets digital rights. During the reporting period, Amnesty International issued a statement about the arbitrary detentions carried out by Fatah-led Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip of those who were critical about the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, several NGOs raised their concerns on the appointment of the former General Director of the Israeli Ministry of Justice, Emi Palmor, to Facebook’s Oversight Board. Under her leadership there were several attempts to censor journalists and Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) because their comments were considered ‘politically undesirable.’ Read more

  Violations of freedom of expression continue unabated during COVID-19 pandemic

'Deal of the Century’ sparks protests, journalists at the frontline face continuous attacks

US President Donald Trump's peace plan known as 'Deal of the Century' sparked protests in various regions. During protests journalists who were in the frontline faced continuous use of excessive force from armed forces. A teenager was killed by armed forces in a seperate protest against encroaching Israeli settlers on the occupied West Bank. Read more

'Deal of the Century’ sparks protests, journalists at the frontline face continuous attacks

NGOs raided by Israeli forces, news websites blocked

Palestinian human rights organisations which monitor Israeli occupation force violations and undertake international advocacy continue to face systematic attacks. Offices of various organisations have been raided. The use of excessive force against Palestinian protesters participating in the Great March of Return continues, despite being unlawful under international human rights and humanitarian laws. News websites face attack, after a court ordered internet service providers to block 59 websites. Read more

NGOs raided by Israeli forces, news websites blocked

The clampdown on Palestine civic space continues as Israel steps up smear campaign against CSOs

Attacks against Palestinian CSOs persisted, including by the Israeli state and some pro-Israeli groups that stepped up systematic smear campaign to de-legitimise and de-fund Palestinian groups. Read more

The clampdown on Palestine civic space continues  as Israel steps up smear campaign against CSOs