Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Al-Haq has organised and participated in numerous webinars on several topics. The webinars highlighted issues such decolonisation in Palestine, Israel’s collective punishment policy, annexation, COVID-19 under occupation, ‘shrinking space’, Palestinian digital rights, Palestine and the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Business and Human Rights.
Posted by Al-Haq Organization مؤسسة الحق on Friday, November 27, 2020
On 27 November 2020, Al-Haq participated in jointly hosted Palestinian-Chilean webinar titled, “Continuing Struggle for the Decolonization of Palestine: New Obstacles, Same Goal”. The webinar was organised in partnership with the International Observatory of the Foundation for Democracy to call attention to the current challenges posed by Israel’s gross human rights violations in Palestine as the international community expresses solidarity on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The webinar discussed the urgent need to change the narrative around Palestine within the context of continued settler colonialism. The panellists further addressed the importance of building an effective international solidarity movement that could affect policy making in order to elevate Palestinian voices and support the Palestinian people’s rights. Shawan Jabarin, Director of Al-Haq advocated for a human rights approach in business that will support decolonisation, to ensure corporate accountability while emphasising the role of Third State responsibility, along with anti-apartheid Palestinian movements rooted in non-violent resistance, to stimulate a global response against Israel’s violations in Palestine.
On Collective Punishment
On 15 July 2020, in parallel to the 44th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, Al-Haq organised a webinar on the closure of the Gaza Strip as illegal collective punishment titled “Collective Punishment in Gaza: 13 Years of Illegal Closure with Impunity.” The webinar highlighted Israel’s prolonged closure of Gaza as illegal collective punishment over two million Palestinians, the detrimental impact of the closure on the right of Palestinians to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as chronic Israeli impunity for widespread and systematic human rights violations committed against the Palestinian people.
Also, parallel to the 44th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, Al-Haq co-sponsored a second webinar with the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) on collective punishment as a tool of domination over the Palestinian people titled “The Price of Impunity: How Israel Uses Collective Punishment as A Tool of Domination.” During the webinar presenters discussed different aspects of Israel’s illegal policy, including the withholding of bodies, arbitrary detention, collective punishment against Palestinian prisoners, detainees, and their families, residency revocation, and punitive house demolitions, all of were outlined as various Israeli forms of collective punishment with the intention of maintaining an apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole.
العقوبات الجماعية في فلسطين واّفاق المناصرة الدولية
العقوبات الجماعية في فلسطين واّفاق المناصرة الدوليةPosted by مركز العمل المجتمعي/جامعة القدس on Tuesday, July 21, 2020
A third webinar on collective punishment was organised by the Community Action Center at Al-Quds University on 21 July 2020, titled “Collective Punishment in Palestine and Avenues for International Advocacy.” The presentations covered Israel’s illegal collective punishment measures in Jerusalem and in Gaza, the gendered impacts of collective punishment on Palestinian women, and a focus on the withholding of bodies as collective punishment of victims’ families.
On Freedom of Expression and Shrinking Space
On 24 March 2020, Al-Haq participated in Palestine Digital Rights Activism Forum 2020’s second panel organised by 7amleh – The Arab Forum for Digital Rights. The panel titled “Violations of Palestinian digital rights,” covered violations of digital rights and arbitrary detention on the ground of freedom of expression by the Israeli authorities, the Palestinian Authority and the de facto Hamas government, Israel’s strategies to restrict Palestinian digital rights, as well as discriminatory digital violations against the Palestinian people by corporations including social media platforms. The presentation by Al-Haq covered examples on Israel’s systematic violations against Palestinian digital rights, which include their rights to freedom of expression, to privacy and to access to information. Al-Haq outlined that such systematic violations are implemented through Israeli legislation, policies, and acts including the policy of oppression as part of the Israeli apartheid, against Palestinians who expose Israeli human rights violations. The presentation concluded in highlighting the role of the Al-Haq’s documentation in advocating and calling for accountability for Palestinian digital rights.
Shrinking Space, Digital Occupation and Silenced Networks
7amleh's #webinar ShrinkingSpace, #DigitalOccupation and #SilencedNetworksPosted by 7amleh - Arab Center for Social Media Advancement on Wednesday, May 13, 2020
On 13 May 2020, Al-Haq participated in 7amleh’s webinar titled “Shrinking Space, Digital Occupation and Silenced Networks.” The presentation by Al-Haq covered shrinking space through a briefing about an upcoming report for Al-Haq, which will respond to three reports by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, by tackling what shrinking space is, allegations against Al-Haq and individuals at the organisation, the lack of credibility that characterises the accusers themselves, the effect of Israel’s attempts to defund Palestinian NGOs, and a legal analysis including the occupation law framework, the apartheid framework and the possibility of defamation claims in other jurisdictions.
On 3 December 2020, Al-Haq with Palestinian, regional and international civil society organisations held a joint webinar titled “HRD Salah Hammouri at Imminent Threat of Deportation from Jerusalem: Israel Must Be Held Accountable.” The webinar constitutes a continuation of civil society’s efforts to highlight Mr. Salah Hammouri’s case, a 35-year-old Palestinian-French human rights defender and lawyer at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Mr. Hammouri provided a comprehensive overview of the most recent Israeli tactic of intimidation against him – the intention to punitively revoke his permanent Jerusalem residency for so-called ‘breach of allegiance’ to the State of Israel and of previous tactics. The webinar contextualised the threat of having Mr. Hammouri’s residency status punitively revoked within the Israeli residency and land policies and as part of protracted and systematic Israeli policies and practices, designed to silence human rights defenders and civil society organisations. The webinar addressed the illegality of residency revoking policy and Third State responsibility. Al-Haq presented on how and why Israeli policies of residency revocation came to be and how since 1967, Israel has created and consistently expanded the criteria for revoking the residency status of Palestinian Jerusalemites, including its “settling outside Israel,” and “centre of life,” policies, and lastly, revoking residency as a punitive measure.
On 11 May 2020, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and Al-Haq held a joint webinar entitled “Countering Israel’s Impending Illegal Annexation of Occupied Palestinian Territory”. Al-Haq’s presentation covered the practical human rights and legal implications of annexation and how the international community should respond in line with their obligations under international law. Al-Haq called on the international community and Third States to take immediate action through several means, namely to ensure the implementation of international law and the protection of the Palestinian people through the implementation of economic sanctions and other measures until Israel adheres to its obligations. Al-Haq called on States to reject the Trump administration’s ‘peace plan’, to recognise the State of Palestine and receive full membership at the United Nations, to implement laws banning the import of goods and services originating from illegal Israeli settlements to continue, to support the annual update of the UN database of businesses involved with Israeli settlements, and to ensure continued support for accountability mechanisms, namely the International Criminal Court.
On 4 August 2020, Al-Haq participated in London Learning Cooperative's panel discussion “From Palestine to Venezuela via Ireland: updates on legal struggles for justice.” Al-Haq explored challenges to Israeli annexation as a symptom of Israeli apartheid and ways of overcoming Israel's institutionalised oppression and domination over the Palestinian people. Al-Haq tackled the illegality of annexation as a legacy of ongoing settler colonialism. The presentation noted that annexation is a symptom of Israeli apartheid against the Palestinian people as a whole by highlighting the institutionalised discrimination and the policy of strategic fragmentation. The presentation highlighted that de facto annexation in Area C has existed for decades through many policies and actions and that it will only be accelerated with de jure annexation of the occupied territory.
On 11 May 2020, in the webinar organised by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee titled “Legal Tools for Resisting Annexation”, Al-Haq presented on mobilising civil society in resistance to annexation. The presentation included a brief on the illegality of annexation as one of the serious crimes in the international legal order, and an overview on third States responsibility toward this unlawful act, including obligations: to recognise the State of Palestine, to reject the US peace plan or any other proposal that denies the Palestinian people from their basic rights, as well as to implement countermeasures including economic sanctions, restrictions on cooperation and individual penalties. The presentation also highlighted the role of the EU in this regard and that there should be a consistency in their responses to similar crimes elsewhere.
On 15 May 2020, Al-Haq participated in a webinar organised by the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) and the Middle East Institute (MEI) in the second part of its annexation webinar series featuring Palestinian voices, titled “Annexation and What It Means.” Being held on the Nakba Day, the presentation by Al-Haq highlighted that the Nakba is ongoing through the loss of land and displacement and dispossession of Palestinians and that the prohibition of acquisition of territory by force, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the prohibition on forcible transfer and the destruction of property were already enshrined in international law at the time of the Nakba. Al-Haq highlighted that such crimes have continued ever since with a prevailing impunity and that further annexation right now is only a continuation of the impunity policy. Highlighting that de facto annexation has been existing in many parts of the occupied territory for decades, Al-Haq emphasised that Israeli civil law and the residency law might be applied on Palestinians in annexed areas with further dispossession and exploitation of their natural resources and further movement restrictions. The presentation ended with available legal tools to challenge annexation including Third States responsibilities.
On 16 June 2020, Al-Haq joined a webinar titled “Israeli Annexation: Precedents, Ramifications, and Resistance” hosted by Al-Shabaka The Palestinian Policy Network. Al-Haq’s presentation discussed the historical illegality of annexation within the wider context of apartheid and the legal ramifications stemming from this crime, as well as possible legal responses to annexation. The presentation recommended to reapproach the Palestinian struggle by the international community and the Palestinian people themselves in a way that counters against strategic fragmentation the Palestinian people in order to reclaim a human-rights based discourse in negotiations.
On 29 April 2020, Al-Haq participated in a webinar organized by Mondoweiss, titled “The Israeli Occupation is alive and well under COVID-19 lockdown.” The presentation outlined Israel’s systematic violations that have continued even under the global pandemic, which have further unveiled Israel’s apartheid regime. The presentation highlighted how Israel’s apartheid regime, including the 13-year old blockade on the Gaza Strip, has impacted the Palestinian health care system. Moreover, the presentation outlined an increase in Israel’s illegal practices during the pandemic including in demolition orders and settler attacks. Al-Haq focused on the existing dire situation of the Palestinian workers employed in Israel, which has accelerated during the ongoing pandemic, whereby Israel failed to test and ensure the treatment of Palestinian workers prior to their return to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, obstructed measures taken by the Palestinian Authority to contain and mitigate the virus and failed to take measures to curb the spread of the pandemic. On the situation of political prisoners, Al-Haq outlined that mass detentions and arrests have continued, with no steps to release Palestinian prisoners, or to adequately prevent the outbreak of the virus in an already dire situation to prisoners who are subject to torture and ill-treatment, medical negligence, lack of proper ventilation and overcrowding and access to sanitary products.
On 5 April 2020, Al-Haq participated in an interview by the Green Planet Monitor, titled “Covid-19 in Palestine, An Update.” The presentation covered Israel’s systematic undermining of Palestinian rights to health, adequate water and sanitation, adequate housing and work. Al-Haq highlighted how Israel has not only crippled the Palestinian ability to have a functioning health care system, but has also undermined Palestinian efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, for example by arresting volunteers, and confiscating food supplies from Palestinian volunteers who were delivering food to communities in need or trying to disinfect the streets in Jerusalem, and confiscation of materials for use as a health clinic in the Jordan Valley. The presentation also outlined continuing settler attacks and demolitions during the pandemic.
On 23 July 2020, Al-Haq participated in a webinar titled, “COVID-19 and the Systematic Neglect of Palestinians in East Jerusalem,” which came in light of a briefing paper published by Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), Al-Haq and the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC). Al-Haq presented and explained that Palestinians in East Jerusalem before the pandemic were subject to a prolonged occupation, illegal annexation, structural discrimination, prolonged dispossession and displacement which is institutionalised through a precarious residency regime, discriminatory planning and zoning which drive them off their communities. All these policies and actions have left Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 and have undermined access to healthcare for Palestinians during the pandemic. Al-Haq highlighted Israel’s strategic fragmentation policy of the Palestinian people and the systematic neglect and de-development of Palestinian healthcare, and the underfunding of East Jerusalem hospitals, which have created extreme vulnerabilities for Palestinians including by undermining the capacity of Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem, the main providers of care for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, to respond to a widespread outbreak of the disease.
On the International Criminal Court
On 13 April 2020, Al-Haq participated in a webinar titled “Israel-Palestine at the International Criminal Court” organised by the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP), with the co-sponsorship of Human Rights Watch. Al-Haq presented on the history of Palestine in pursuing justice and accountability at the ICC. The presentation noted that following the announcement of the Prosecutor in December 2019, in which she stated that she has reasonable basis to open a formal investigation and requested from the Pre-Trial Chamber a jurisdictional ruling on the scope of the Court’s jurisdiction over Palestine, thus inviting submissions from States and the general public to respond to the question of the scope of jurisdiction, there has been a case of uncertainty on the legal consequences of the Palestinian file at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The presentation concluded with the role of the ICC if an investigation opens in recognising the illegality of the situation, pushing other countries to fulfil their obligations and pushing for ending the Israeli occupation and impunity.
On Business and Human Rights
On 21 May 2020, Al-Haq participated in a webinar, titled “Stop settlements – on the road to justice in Palestine” and presented on the importance of the UN Database of Businesses Engaged in Israel’s Settlement Enterprise. The presentation focused on the content of the Database, how it can be used, why the annual update and the continuation for the development of the database are crucial, and its role and purpose as a tool for accountability and transparency. Commenting on the content of the database, Al-Haq highlighted several omissions in the Database including in agricultural settlements, in the winery and quarries sectors and gas companies operating at the coast of Gaza Strip.
Overcoming Corporate Capture in the UN #BindingTreaty
#EndCorporateCapturePosted by ESCR-Net on Monday, October 26, 2020
On 26 October 2020, Al-Haq moderated a webinar titled "Overcoming Corporate Capture in the UN Binding Treaty on Human Rights and Business." The webinar was organised by ESCR-Net - International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and was available in English and Spanish. The webinar addressed corporate capture experiences from around the globe. The panellists presented on the meaning and elements of corporate capture, corporate interference in multilateral treaty negotiations, recommendations on how to protect the treaty process from such influence, continuation of corporate capture within the decolonisation process in the African content, and corporate capture during Covid-19 in the Latin American region and its impact from a feminist perspective.