International Advocacy 2009

Highlights: Report - "Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel's practices in the OPT under international law." The UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) issued its Concluding Observations (COs) on Israel. The EU-Israel Association Council (AC) decided at its meeting in 6/09 to put the upgrade of the EU's relations with Israel on hold out of concern for human rights.

South Africa/OPTBriefings for Diplomats and Embassy RepresentativesUN AdvocacyEU AdvocacyInternational HR Conferences

South Africa/OPT

Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel's practices in the OPT under international law.

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa commissioned this study to test a hypothesis posited to the UN Human Rights Council in January 2007 by Professor John Dugard, UN Special Rapporteur (SR) on the human rights situation in the OPT.

Professor Dugard asked: "Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT. At the same time, elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. What are the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the Occupying Power and third States?"

Al Haq, Adalah and a team of lawyers and legal academics from the Ireland, Israel, South Africa, the UK and the West Bank contributed to the writing of this 300-page study.

International Advocacy Director Rina Jabareen gave a presentation on the implications of the report's findings for international advocacy at the launch held at the School for Asian and Oriental Studies (SOAS) in London in 5/09. She also gave a presentation at the House of Commons at a special session organized by the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group. Participation supported by the HSRC. Conferences and seminars will be held on the report in the West Bank, Israel and South Africa during the second half of 2009.

Back to Top

Briefings for Diplomats and Embassy Representatives

Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen, together with the General and Legal Directors of the leading human rights organizations in Israel met former US President Jimmy Carter in 6/09 in Jerusalem. President Carter held a series of meetings in Israel and the OPT concerning recent political developments in the US and Israel.

Adalah hosted the new South African Ambassador to Israel, Ismail Coovadia, at our office in 6/09.

Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen and International Advocacy Director Rina Rosenberg, together with small group of human rights advocates, met the Swiss Ambassador to Israel, Walter Haffner, at his residence in 6/09. 

Adalah Attorney Morad El-Sana met the US Ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, at a meeting held with the mayor of the Rahat municipality and NGO leaders in the Naqab in 6/09.

Back to Top

UN Advocacy

Press Release - The UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) issued its Concluding Observations (COs) on Israel in 5/09. The COs raised many of the issues contained in the oral and written interventions submitted by Adalah, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, DCI-Palestine, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel as the United Against Torture Coalition. Adalah contributed research and writing on ten issues of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The organizations submitted joint reports to CAT in 9/08 and 4/09 and Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-'Ajou attended the Committee's review sessions on Israel in 5/09 in Geneva. 

The Committee raised serious questions involving what it categorized as "numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations" of torture and ill-treatment by Israel against Palestinians and called for an independent investigation into operation 'Cast Lead' in Gaza. Meetings were also held with human rights officers working with the UN SR on Torture; the UN WG on Arbitrary Detentions; the UN SR for the OPT; and the Head of the UN Treaty Bodies section and the Head of the Civil Society Unit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Reporting and participation supported by the European Commission. 

Adalah closely followed UN developments and investigations during and in the aftermath of the Israeli military offensive on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009. Adalah submitted materials on our legal work dealing with Gaza to UN Special Rapporteurs (SR), including Prof. Richard Falk, the UN SR on the OPT, who wrote and submitted reports to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in 3/09.

SR Report 17 March 2009 - Legality of Operation Cast Lead, Existing Situation in Gaza

SR Report 20 March 2009 - Combined Report from 7 Special Rapporteurs and Other Experts 

Press Release - In 5/09, Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-'Ajou gave testimony in Geneva about Adalah's work on the Gaza crisis to the Goldstone Commission, which has been mandated by the HRC to investigate these events. In 6/09, Adalah and other human rights organizations based in Israel provided a joint submission to the Goldstone Commission on results of investigations, major findings and legal work on the Gaza attacks and crisis.

Interventions Against Racism in CERD and the UN Forum on Minority Rights:

The UN Independent Expert (IE) on Minority Issues, Gay MacDougall, presented a set of recommendations on the subject of minorities and the right to education to the HRC in 3/09. Adalah played an active role in the formulation of the recommendations by providing extensive comments and suggestions to a draft version in the context of our participation in the inaugural session of the new Forum on Minority Issues, held in Geneva in 12/08. Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher participated in this session as an UN-selected expert in the field.

As a result of Adalah's input, the IE added four new articles to the recommendations, and significant amendments/additions were made to strengthen a total of 14 other articles, tackling compound discrimination against female members of minorities, the cultural rights and narratives of minorities, and other issues. The intention is that these recommendations will be adopted as a new General Comment by the CERD Committee, and thus, will become the authoritative interpretation of international human rights law on this matter.

Adalah Board member Fouad Sultani participated as an observer in the Durban Review Conference (DRC) held in Geneva in 4/09, supported by the UN. Badil, Al-Haq and Adalah wrote to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to express our disappointment and concern that the DRC neglected the victims of severe racial discrimination, in particular the Palestinians, and drastically limited any meaningful civil society participation in the conference. Read the Durban Review Conference Outcome Document

Back to Top

EU Advocacy

The EU-Israel Association Council (AC) decided at its meeting in 6/09 to put the upgrade of the EU's relations with Israel on hold. For the first time in an AC statement, the EU stated that it, "reiterates the need for a continued discussion with the Israeli side on human rights situations of common concern, in particular the protection of the Palestinian population and Israeli Arab minority," (para. 29).

 Adalah and the Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA) sent a letter to the EU and EU member states in 6/09, prior to the AC meeting, informing them about the flood of new proposed legislation since the new Netanyahu government took office that threaten the rights of Arab citizens of Israel.

International Advocacy Director Rina Jabareen participated in a series of advocacy meetings in Sweden in 6/09, together with colleagues from B'Tselem, Al Haq and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), immediately prior to the AC meeting. At these meetings, organized by Diakonia, the organizations urged EU member states to support accountability for Gaza, the dismantling of and construction freeze in the settlements, and respect for the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Prior to the AC meeting, Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen, HRA General Director Mohammed Zeidan, and the Chairman of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, Muhammed Zeidan, met with EC officials in Tel Aviv to discuss the "anti-Arab" legislation and the deterioration of the human rights situation of Palestinian citizens of Israel. By invitation of the Swedish embassy, which chairs an informal working group of embassies on human rights, Adalah Attorney Orna Kohn and representatives of the HRA and Mossawa briefed embassy staff on these issues in 6/09. 

Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-'Ajou joined a delegation of the EMHRN Palestine/Israel Working Group for a series of advocacy meetings in Denmark with government officials, parliamentarians, academics and NGOs in 3/09. Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher participated in a similar set of advocacy meetings in Sweden in 5/09, in the run-up to the Swedish Presidency of the EU beginning in 7/09.

Adalah's International Advocacy Director Rina Jabareen participated in a meeting of the EMHRN's Working Group on Palestine/ Israel in Jerusalem in 4/09, where she was selected to be the facilitator of the group. 

Adalah was a member of the Steering Committee for the EMHRN Report Active but Acquiescent - The EU's Response to the Israeli Military Offensive on Gaza, published in 5/09. The EMHRN WG briefed NGOs, the European Commission and embassies of EU member states on the initial findings of this report in 4/09. In 5/09, the EMHRN launched the EU-Gaza report in Brussels, and in Tel Aviv and Ramallah in 6/09 with a series of briefings for embassies, consulates, and journalists.

Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher participated in a meeting of the EMHRN's Working Group on Gender in Sweden in 5/09, which also included lobbying activities and a public event. Attorney Zaher is the facilitator of the WG. She also participated as a consultant on gender-mainstreaming in the EMHRN's Working Group on Justice meeting in Paris in 6/09.

EU Regional seminar on thematic instruments and programmes: reinforcing civil society. Adalah's International Advocacy Director participated in this two-day seminar held in Cairo in 5/09. The seminar brought together more than 100 NGO representatives from around the region for a consultation on the EU's financing of thematic programs.

Back to Top

International Human Rights Conferences 

Adalah's International Advocacy Director Rina Jabareen participated in the Global Strategy Exchange Convening Conference, organized and funded by the US Human Rights Fund. The conference, held in New Orleans, in 1/09, was attended by 140 people from 12 countries. The purpose of the conference was for HR advocates to share experiences about their domestic HR work and to strategize on developing transnational advocacy projects. Rina gave a presentation on the October 2000 killings case and Adalah's international and transnational advocacy in this regard.

The Chairperson of Adalah's Board of Directors, Dr. Mahmoud Yazbak, gave a lecture on Adalah's Democratic Constitution at a conference entitled "Israeli Democracy and the Conflict's Solution: One Democratic Country or Two-States?" The conference was hosted and supported by The German-Palestinian Society and the Protestant Academy Hofgeismar in Germany in 2/09.

A conference on "Universal Jurisdiction in England & Wales: Dispelling Myths & Learning Lessons" was hosted in London in 3/09 by SOAS, FIDH, PCHR-Gaza and Hickman and Rose Solicitors. Adalah's International Advocacy Director Rina Jabareen participated in the conference, which brought together academics, lawyers and representatives of HR organizations. Participation supported by Hickman and Rose. 

Diakonia published a report in 5/09 on its conference "Palestine/Israel: Making Monitoring Work - Re-Enforcing International Law in Europe," held in Brussels in 9/08. A summary of Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen's presentation on the failure of domestic remedies in cases of killings of Palestinians by the Israeli security forces is published in the report. 

Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher attended OxfamNovib's Budget Monitoring workshop in Georgia (former USSR) in 5/09. The workshop included a small group of NGO representatives in the region working on litigation against discrimination in budgets, budget analysis, economic development, women's rights and budgeting, and the role of civil society in budget monitoring, to share the concepts and tools they use in their work.

Back to Top