Date: 25 Dec 2020
A briefing note on the exercise of public rights and freedoms in the Palestinian Territories during 2020
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) highly appreciates your positive and acclaimed role.
As we are leaving 2020 and in the framework of our follow-up of public rights and freedoms conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories, we believe it is of great importance to brief you about the practice of public freedoms in the Palestinian territories, including freedom of expression, of press and media, freedom of peaceful assembly, and the right to form associations.
the International Commission for Supporting Palestinian Rights (ICSPR) sent all the institutions of the international community Among them: High Commissioner for Human Rights , President and members of the Human Rights Council and UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory.
We address you in the name of conscience and the humanitarian duty, and on behalf of the thousands of victims of human rights and humanitarian law violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, who look to your contributions, roles and efforts with optimism and hope to put an end to the violations against them, to ensure accountability for the perpetrators of these violations, and to ensure that the violations won’t be repeated again.
We are honored to present you with the most important patterns of violations monitored by the International Commission (ICSPR) and other human rights organizations, in terms of Israeli violations, and Palestinian violations of the right to freedom of expression, press and media, freedom of peaceful assembly and the right to form associations as follows:
- Israeli violations:
- During 2020, campaigns of violations of freedom of opinion, expression, and peaceful assembly have significantly escalated in the villages and cities of the West Bank, occupied Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, which led to arbitrary arrests of thousands of civilians in the West Bank, and dozens of civilians in the Gaza Strip.
- The arrest of Palestinians on the background of publishing on social media is one of the most prominent violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank, Jerusalem and in the occupied Palestinian territories of 1948, where they arrested (609) Palestinians in the West Bank during the past four years (2016- 2019), and brought against them charges of incitement by posting on social media. On the other hand, specialized institutions have received (1314) complaints during the past two years, about the commission of violations of the right of Palestinian users during the past two years (2018, 2019) by social media administrations “Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube”.
- According to the statistics of the Journalists Support Committee of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, during 2020, the Israeli occupation committed 414 violations against journalists, including shooting them with live bullets, rubber bullets, and tear gas canisters, in addition to blocking and closing news websites and banning press coverage.
- Journalists and photojournalists are still at risk of compromising their safety while covering the violations of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. As the Israeli army has killed two journalists while they were covering the events of the Return Marches, which began at the end of March 2018, near the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, during which, about 249 Israeli violations of the right of journalists were committed. Among these violations, 173 media workers were injured, 102 by bullets and shrapnel of live bullets, 32 by rubber-coated metal bullets, and 114 by tear gas canisters.
- The Israeli occupation is still imprisoning 12 Palestinian journalists in its prisons, the oldest of whom is the detainee Mahmoud Issa from the city of Jerusalem, who has been detained since 1993 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
- Press and media institutions have been subjected to more violations through the forced closure and confiscation of press and other property by the Israeli occupation.
- Palestinian violations:
- According to the commission’s information, the number of political arrests increased during 2020 to more than 500 detainees in the West Bank and 60 in the Gaza Strip. This was accompanied by the continuation of the executive bodies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to practice a series of violations against citizens, journalists, and writers, and violations of the right to peaceful assembly, all of these acts violating the Palestinian Basic Law and international conventions.
- Internal violations of the rights to opinion, expression, and peaceful assembly continued during 2020 at a varying pace, and a number of violations were recorded in human rights organizations.
- The commission of 193 violations by law enforcement agencies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, of the right of freedom of opinion and expression through social media in (2016-2017-2018-2019).
- The continued implementation of the policies of freezing the accounts of dozens of non-governmental and charitable organizations and associations operating in the Gaza Strip, which deprives thousands of Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip from exercising their right to form and join civil and charitable societies, and this is not only the result of the sterile and complicated registration procedures by the ministry of the interior in the West Bank, the matter took a different direction when the executive authority (the Palestinian government) harnessed one of its most important executive arms represented by the (Palestinian Monetary Authority) by issuing directives and decisions to Palestinian and non-Palestinian banks operating in the Gaza Strip to practice many measures against civil and charitable societies, including the refusal to open accounts for newly registered associations in the Gaza Strip, freezing the accounts of some civil and charitable societies registered in accordance with legal principles, in addition to the refusal to receive remittances from a number of charitable societies without any justification, and the banks ’refusal to grant associations an affidavit that includes the IPAN code. The banks refused to open sub-accounts on the accounts of a number of charitable and civil societies without justification, in addition to imposing new audit tools not provided by law.
Public rights and freedoms, which include freedom of expression, press and media, freedom of peaceful assembly and the right to form associations, are among the basic human rights, as they are among the enabling rights that respecting and implementing which leading to protecting a wide range of other human rights. Rather, it is the only way to combat corruption in its various forms.
We see your humanity as a banner in order to ensure that members of the international community fulfill their obligations towards the universal values of human rights that are indivisible. Therefore, we ask you to exert more efforts, by taking specific measures that protect public rights and freedoms, through:
- Putting pressure on the Israeli military occupation authorities as the occupying power, in order to oblige them to respect the rules of international law and international agreements towards civilians living in the occupied territory.
- Demanding the Human Rights Council to conduct investigations into cases of serious or systematic Israeli violations of basic human rights guaranteed under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
We hope that you will intervene now, Palestinian citizens deserve to work for them, in order to ensure that they enjoy a safe and decent standard of living, linked to the foundations and standards of human rights, and in a way that guarantees them a decent future.