Ask HRW (Israel and Palestine) 9 – When Rain is Law and Justice is Dry Land

Omar Shakir, J.D., M.A. works as the Israel and Palestine Director for Human Rights Watch. He investigates a variety of human rights abuses within the occupied Palestinian territories/Occupied Palestinian Territories or oPt/OPT (Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem) and Israel. He earned a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University, an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Affairs, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. He is bilingual in Arabic and English. Previously, he was a Bertha Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights with a focus on U.S. counterterrorism policies, which included legal representation of Guantanamo detainees. He was the Arthur R. and Barbara D. Finberg Fellow (2013-2014) for Human Rights Watch with investigations, during this time, into the human rights violations in Egypt, e.g., the Rab’a massacre, which is one of the largest killings of protestors in a single day ever. Also, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Syria.

Language of the oPt/OPT is recognized in the work of the OHCHRAmnesty InternationalOxfam InternationalUnited NationsWorld Health OrganizationInternational Labor OrganizationUNRWAUNCTAD, and so on. Some see the Israeli-Palestinian issue as purely about religion. Thus, this matters to freethought. These ongoing interviews explore this issue in more depth.

Here we continue with the 9th part in our series of conversations with coverage in the middle of middle of May, 2020, to the middle of July, 2020, for the Israeli-Palestinian issue. With the deportation of Shakir, this follows in line with state actions against others, including Amnesty International staff member Laith Abu Zeyad when attempting to see his mother dying from cancer (Amnesty International, 2019a; Zeyad, 2019; Amnesty International, 2020), United States Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and United States Congresswoman Ilhan Omar who were subject to being barred from entry (Romo, 2019), Professor Noam Chomsky who was denied entry (Hass, 2010), and Dr. Norman Finkelstein who was deported in the past (Silverstein, 2008). Shakir commented in an opinion piece:

Over the past decade, authorities have barred from entry MIT professor Noam Chomsky, U.N. special rapporteurs Richard Falk and Michael Lynk, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, U.S. human rights lawyers Vincent Warren and Katherine Franke, a delegation of European Parliament members, and leaders of 20 advocacy groups, among others, all over their advocacy around Israeli rights abuses. Israeli and Palestinian rights defenders have not been spared. Israeli officials have smearedobstructed and sometimes even brought criminal charges against them. (Shakir, 2019)

Now, based on the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court and the actions of the Member State of the United Nations, Israel, he, for this session, works from Amman, Jordan.

*Interview conducted on July 23, 2020. The previous interview conducted on May 13, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: With regards to Israeli politics, what is happening there as to the human rights violations happening on the ground?

Omar Shakir: The Israeli coalition government was formed earlier this year (Katkov, 2020). The government is in place with ministers across the board. They have begun to implement policies. Of course, much of the attention, particularly around July 1st, was around the prospect of whether the Israeli government would annex additional parts of the West Bank (Federman, 2020a). At the same time, the COVID-19 crises returned with a vengeance with an uptick in cases in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Goldenberg, 2020). Much of the focus has been on the government’s response to the public health crisis, as well as what it means in terms of schools, education, etc., across the country, as well as travel (Zion, 2020).

So, much of the attention has been there. At the same time, the Israeli government has been debating to pass the budget. If not passed, and if certain events transpire, it could trigger fourth elections, potentially even later this year. That’s really been where most of the public discourse has been focused.

Jacobsen: What about Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, West Bank?

Shakir: Yes, I think also we have seen, in particular, in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, that the COVID crisis has been quite significant (Akram & Krauss, 2020). In the West Bank, it has been centered around Hebron (Goldenberg, 2020). As a result, the Palestinian Authority has taken a series of measures. They imposed closures in much of the parts of the West Bank where they manage affairs (Associated Press, 2020a). They have also put in place curfews and restrictions on movement. That’s really taken much of the public conversation. We also have continued to see some of the same abuses take place by the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas authorities (Daraghmeh, 2020; Toameh, 2020). In the West Bank, for example, in June, a journalist was detained after a video he had produced, a political video, on the sale of watermelons in Tulkarm, which is the town where he is from, was posted to a Facebook page considered critical of the Palestinian Authority (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2020; Committee to Protect Journalists, 2019).

He spent several weeks in detention and was released on bail earlier this month, earlier in July. We’ve seen other examples in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, you continue to have, as of now, two Palestinians detained for participating in a Zoom chat with Israelis, which took place several months ago (United Nations Human Rights Council, 2020).[1] Of course, this is in addition to Israeli government abuses in these areas.

Jacobsen: With some of the coronavirus pandemic focus for many, many governments around the world now, it can reduce the amount of coverage on various relations, international relations. So, some of the major players with regards to the players you’re centrally covering, including European allies of Israel as well as America and other North American allies. What are some of the updates on the international edge of things regarding human rights violation or support of them?

Shakir: I think much of the focus on the international community has been on the prospect of annexation (Associated Press, 2020b; Heller, 2020a; Cook, 2020; Federman, 2020b). You saw many governments in June, early July, issue statements, sometimes speaking directly to Israeli audiences, as to what annexation might mean for their bilateral or multilateral relationships. We have seen the EU, for example, and some European states refer to consequences for Israel if they were to proceed in that direction (Heller, 2020a; Krauss, 2020a). German officials were in Israel in June (Krauss, 2020b) and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote an article in a Hebrew language newspaper making pitches around annexation (Heller, 2020a; Halbfinger, 2020a). So, much of the international community’s focus has been around annexation given the July 1st date, the date the Israeli government could, if it chose to, annex part of the West Bank. With the International Criminal Court, we have to await a decision by the pre-trial chamber about whether or not they will confirm jurisdiction over the State of Palestine, a ruling that would allow the Prosecutor to proceeding with a formal investigation (Rubeo & Baroud, 2020; TOI Staff, 2020a). We continue to see statements at the UN regarding developments on the ground (United Nations Human Rights Council, 2020).

Jacobsen: What have been any indications or open statements of Fatou Bensouda as this process has been going forward with the International Criminal Court?

Shakir: The prosecutor has made her position clear (Corder, 2020). The elements for a formal investigation have been met (Middle East Monitor, 2020). Her office put forward a submission for the pre-trial chamber that made clear their position that there is jurisdiction (International Criminal Court, 2020a; International Criminal Court, 2020b). In December (2019), in announcing that her preliminary inquiry had concluded, she said there was reasonable basis to believe that serious crimes committed in the State of Palestine and therefore to proceed with a formal investigation (Carvosso, 2020).

Jacobsen: In other contexts, there have been defamation campaigns against individuals with status and can actually harm the image of Israel as a state, not necessarily the people but as a state. What could be some potential backlash given historical precedent in particular cases towards individuals such as the Chief Prosecutor?

Shakir: Already, the United States and the Israeli government have unleashed an array of attacks against the International Criminal Court (Ravid, 2020). There have been restrictions by the United States, for example, on travel to the U.S. by senior ICC officials (Ibid.). An Executive Order was issued by President Trump that put in place consequences of those who work on investigations that touch on the United States or its partners, including Israel. There have also been bellicose statements coming from the Israeli government, including threats against the ICC (MEE and agencies, 2020). We have also seen a number of states across Europe and the world really defend the ICC as an important institution in the fight against impunity and highlighting the importance of its independence and neutrality (Euractiv, 2020). I think it has been very much a concern in the international community and, certainly, should a decision be made to confirm jurisdiction, it can be expected that those attacks will escalate.

Jacobsen: Now, with regards to some more specific issues, there was a list of Knesset members who gave a statement. These were members of the Joint List. Was it the Yesh Din legal opinion (Yesh Din, 2020)?

Shakir: Yes, Yesh Din.

Jacobsen: So, what were those statements? Why did those particular Knesset members take part in this?

Shakir: Yesh Din is an Israeli human rights group that has been working in the West Bank for 15 years now on a range of issues involving land confiscation, settler violence, etc. Their legal advisor, Michael Sfard, who – full disclosure – also represented me in my legal challenge against the Israeli government’s decision to deport me (Kershner, 2019), wrote a legal opinion finding the Israeli government is carrying out the crime of apartheid in the West Bank (Iraqi, 2020; Sfard, 2020a). The opinion looked at particular serious abuses and the kind of regime of systematic discrimination in place in the West Bank, as well as the intent of Israeli officials (Sfard, 2020b). Several Knesset members, particular members of the Joint List, one of the larger parties in Israel representing a significant percent of the Palestinian population in Israel, but which also has a Jewish MK and has attracted a number of votes from Jewish Israelis, read excerpts of the legal opinion in the Knesset this week. In so doing, they highlighted their significant concern about the effectively permanent occupation and the systematic repression of Palestinians.

Jacobsen: Haaretz has reported on some suicide cases (Shehada, 2020). This is in Palestine (Sharir & Gontarz, 2020). What were some of those cases, not necessarily in particular but, as general trends based on the lives that are being forced on them?

Shakir: There, certainly, have been reports on an uptick in suicides (Shehada, 2020; Sharir & Gontarz, 2020). It is always difficult to speculate why or what leads someone to take their own life. Certainly, when you look at the situation in Gaza, many people feel a lack of hope. Gaza, for the last 13 years, has been facing a closure (Al Mezan, 2020a; Al Mezan, 2020b), a policy by the Israeli government, supported for much of this time by the Egyptian government (Chick, 2010; Middle Est Policy Council, n.d.), of caging the 2,000,000 people of Gaza in, of turning Gaza into an open-air prison, where there is a generalized travel ban robbing 2,000,000 Palestinians of their free movement outside of narrow exceptions (OCHA, 2021). That closure has affected the entry and exit of goods and this has had a drastic effect on the economy (United Nations: The Question of Palestine, 2016). Eighty percent of the population depend on financial support from international organizations (Asharq Al Awsat, 2018). Young people face increasingly high unemployment rates of well over 50% (UNCTAD, 2019).

Where you have significant parts of the population who have few opportunities, you also have a repressive Hamas government there that is quashing dissent (Daraghmeh, 2018). So in a 25 x 7 mile or 45 by 11 kilometre area, you have 2,000,000 people locked into a dire economic situation, few opportunities, frequent power cuts, the vast majority of water is unfit for human consumption (Anera, 2020). With all of these things going on, you have seen a number of people who have decided to take their own life (Shehada, 2020; Sharir & Gontarz, 2020). Each situation is different, but, certainly, the overall situation of Gaza is vital context.

Jacobsen: What about cases that exemplify this, not necessarily direct deportation cases such as yours, but those of Laith Abu Zeyad (Shakir, 2020; Amnesty International, 2020) who has had a travel ban imposed on him since October of last year (2019)?

Shakir: Absolutely, one doesn’t realize how important the freedom of movement is until it is taken away from you. The ability to travel to the next town, visit family, to go on vacation, to study abroad, etc. I think some people have experienced a taste of this amid COVID closures, but it pales in comparison to the daily reality for millions of Palestinians (Arab News, 2020; Kenny, 2020). Laith Abu Zeyad is a human rights defender, a colleague, a representative of Amnesty International who received a travel ban by Israel for undisclosed security reasons. He lives about 3 kilometres away from a hospital in Jerusalem, where his mother was receiving cancer treatment. He sought a permit to be by her side. She died in December, a couple months after the travel ban was imposed. He was also denied the ability to head to Jordan, which is the only outlet for Palestinians in the West Bank if they want to travel abroad unless they receive a rare permit to use Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport. He missed a relative’s funeral in Amman. This is a human rights defender for one of the world’s most prominent human rights organizations, Amnesty International (Zeyad, 2020). It gives a window into some of the restrictions many Palestinians face.

Jacobsen: Back to Israel with a particular focus on Israeli politics, what is the status of the Netanyahu and Gantz alliance (Halbfinger, 2020b)?

Shakir: It is a day-to-day process that varies. It was never, certainly, an alliance in which there was much love lost between the two main protagonists (Associated Free Press, 2020). Gantz said he joined to fight the coronavirus (Mualem, 2020a). There are some differences of policies on several issues. Reports in the Israeli press, from July 22nd, indicated that Netanyahu was contemplating early elections (TOI Staff, 2020b). There’s a context now, discussions over the budget (Scheer, 2020). There have been some disagreements around responses to the COVID crisis, annexation (Williams, 2020; Heller, 2020b; Heller & Williams, 2020; Reuters Staff, 2020a). In any coalition, there are disagreements and it is unclear what will transpire, but, in the meantime, disagreements between the two main coalition partners will remain a near-daily fixture.

Jacobsen: With respect to May of 2020, into the current period, late July, what have been some of the updates on recent criminal proceedings for Benjamin Netanyahu, Bibi (Lubell, 2020; Reuters Staff, 2020b; Lubell, 2020)?

Shakir: There have been several preliminary hearings on the case. The most recent one set a schedule for further hearings (Reuters Staff, 2020b). The evidentiary part of the proceedings will not really get started before January 2021 (TOI Staff, 2020c). The hearings thus far have been very preliminary, formally kicking off the process. It is likely that the heart of the proceedings will take place next year.

Jacobsen: Now, what do you think are going to be some of these processes moving forward regarding the legal context for Benjamin Netanyahu? How do you think this might impact, based on the facts that we have on the ground, the tenuous nature of this Gantz and Netanyahu political alliance?

Shakir: I think there still remains a lot to be seen. Benjamin Netanyahu stands as the longest serving Israeli prime minister (BBC News, 2020a; BBC News, 2020b). It is unprecedented for a prime minister under indictment to remain in power. Certainly, Netanyahu’s fate has been at the center of Israel’s political instability that we’ve seen over the last year and a half (OHCHR, 2020a). It is difficult to prognosticate how things might change. Netanyahu still seems quite strong in the polls (Mualem, 2020b). Meanwhile, Benny Gantz has dropped in the polls with the dissolution of the Blue & White Party (Caspit, 2020). There aren’t many challengers that have naturally emerged (Ferber, 2020). It seems we are stuck with this reality, probably, for some time, even if there are elections. It is difficult to see a prospect for a different trajectory.

Jacobsen: With the focus of the international community and the regional community on both coronavirus and the prospects for this full-blown annexation, particularly on the West Bank, I want to touch on one thing in particular. How much would be projected, the West Bank, outright annexed?

Shakir: There have been many different proposals floated. As much as there have been discussions about annexation (Krauss, 2020c), the details have not been laid out. According to some press reports, they have not been discussed at the senior governmental level. I would say: at one end of the spectrum, annexation could encompass everywhere encompassed by the Trump Plan (Lederer, 2020), up to 30% of the West Bank (Heller, 2020a), including the Jordan Valley and much of the areas where settlements lie or areas under the control of settlements, to, on the other end, a more symbolic annexation, which would apply to some of the settlements closer to the Green Line (Bateman, 2020) that are larger and more well-established as settlement blocks as they are sometimes referred to as. I think that’s part of the internal conversation, the scale of annexation. While this was on the front of everyone’s minds around July 1, amid the uptick of corona cases and other global developments, it has sort of fallen out of the discussion. I think a lot remains to be seen as to what will take place and when.

Jacobsen: This cybercrime law (Kuttab, 2020), how is this limiting Palestinian freedom of expression in particular?

Shakir: Palestinians have had for a couple of years a law, a cybercrime law, that includes many restrictions on free expression (Civicus, 2020). It is important to note that many of parts of the cybercrime law were already in the Palestinian Penal Code. There were already laws, for example, that made it illegal to insult “higher authorities,” or otherwise imposed criminal sentences based on peaceful free speech (Human Rights Watch, 2016). The cybercrime law clarified that some of these provisions also applied to online speech (7amleh – Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, 2018). We have seen some of the provisions applied to, for example, criticism on Facebook (Nofal, 2020; Fatafta, 2020). According to PA statistics given to Human Rights Watch, in 2018, 815 people were detained under the cybercrime law (Human Rights Watch, 2019). So, certainly, the cybercrime law gives additional tools to a government that has a systematic practice of arbitrary detaining critics and opponents (Human Rights Watch, 2018).

Jacobsen: What is the political stability in each portion of Palestinian territory?

Shakir: It is difficult to assess that. Governments that look unstable have a way of hanging on. Certainly, the situation in Gaza is tense with closure, but it has been 13 years without major change since 2007 (OHCHR, 2020b). In the West Bank, there’s certainly a lot of questions that annexation has brought to the fore about the future of the Palestinian Authority (Rahman, 2020). We have already seen security coordination between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority decrease significantly, if not stop altogether, amid talk of annexation (OCHA, 2020). I think there’s a lot hinging on what happens to annexation, as well the future of Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority. Those two things could trigger things changing quickly.

Jacobsen: A lot of commentary has focused on the death knell or the outright death of the two-State solution. Some have been claiming that it has been dead for a long time and the Trump-Kushner plan merely made it more explicit. What are some of the commentaries happening on the ground now among either political elites or ordinary people, on either side of the territories?

Shakir: One sign of someone who has spent a lot of time on the ground in Israel and Palestine is that they focus on the reality on the ground and not their preferred solution. Whatever one might prefer as a solution, we have in effect a one-state reality on the ground (Beinart, 2020), where the Israeli government is the dominant power inside the Green Line and throughout the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and systematically represses Palestinians and discriminates against them in favour of Jewish Israelis (Human Rights Watch, 2020). For most people on the ground, the question is about how you get beyond this discriminatory reality today and force a change in the status quo. Given this context, discussions around solutions feel academic and a bit far removed. That has been in certain quarters, in particular in the United States among political elites, more conversation on the one-State/two-State solution triggered in part by annexation, but also by a piece written by Peter Beinart (Ibid.), an American Jewish thinker and academic, earlier this month that touched on his personal shift of opinion towards a one-state solution founded on equality for all people living in Israel and Palestine. For Beinart and others, the concern animating them is to move beyond the current ugly reality.

Jacobsen: The oldest human rights issue is the Israel-Palestine conflict. With regards to the foundation of the United Nations, so, if this annexation goes full bore, what does this state about the efficacy the legitimacy of an international rights based order?

Shakir: There are many other longstanding conflicts out there that date back to the end of WWII and the post-colonial moment. But I think annexation should trigger change in the international community’s approach here. It is quite clear what annexation means in terms of international law. A move towards annexation wouldn’t change the reality of occupation or the protections that Palestinians enjoy under the law of occupation. But it should put to rest the notion that Israel considers its occupation temporary (Shafir, 2017). It is fully intent on ruling in perpetuity Palestinians and depriving them of their fundamental rights. So, it should trigger a shift in the international community’s approach.

Jacobsen: Also, in late June, Belgian and Dutch parliaments adopted motions to look at various measures that could be taken on the premise of Israel annexing Palestinian territory (Ahren, 2020). How is this proceeding along the lines of taking real accountability measures, nation by nation, if annexation moves forward?

Shakir: It is long overdue. I think Israel has maintained for years now a discriminatory system against Palestinians and committed serious abuses. It is beyond time for the international community to take action and hold Israel accountable. Those measures shouldn’t turn on annexation. Annexation may or may not change the reality on the ground. In East Jerusalem, which has been annexed for more than 50+ years, you have separate and unequal rule for decades over Palestinians, who face many of the same abuses as they face elsewhere in the West Bank. The focus should be on the current reality on the ground. Annexation may make things worse, but things are quite dire as we speak. It is encouraging to see movement in some countries towards accountability. More is needed.

Jacobsen: Last question for this particular session for July, should there be any focus to documents or reports that might be coming out of Human Rights Watch?

Shakir: We’re working on research on a range of issues. I will happily discuss those when they’re out. But I suspect that you’ll be hearing from us in the coming weeks and months with some pretty significant reports. I did neglect to mention one thing in response to one of your earlier questions, which I wanted to add before we conclude. There have been several examples in recent weeks of killings of Palestinians by Israeli security forces that have received significant attention because they are emblematic of the systematic pattern of excessive force by Israeli security services against Palestinians. Two examples in particular have received significant attention. One is the killing of Eyad Hallaq, a Palestinian man with disabilities who was gunned down in Jerusalem in circumstances that, certainly, suggest that he did not pose any sort of imminent threat to life or serious bodily injury to officers (Hasson, Khoury, & Breiner, 2020). The police acknowledged that he did not have a weapon and did not pose a threat at the time. Similarly, a Palestinian man, Ahmad Erekat, was shot and killed at a checkpoint in the West Bank on the weekend of his sister’s wedding (Reuters Staff, 2020c). His car crashed into a checkpoint. He emerged from the vehicle with his hands up as video evidence showed. Again, in circumstances in which he did not appear to pose an imminent threat to the lives of the officers, he was gunned to death and died there. These cases are two of many that take place on a regular basis, where Palestinians are gunned down and killed when Israeli forces open fire on Palestinians in circumstances in which they do not pose an imminent threat to life and serious bodily injury, which is the standard in international human rights law.

Jacobsen: Omar, as always, thank you.

Shakir: Thanks, Scott!

Previous Sessions (Chronological Order)

Interview with Omar Shakir – Israel and Palestine Director, Human Rights Watch (Middle East and North Africa Division)

HRW Israel and Palestine (MENA) Director on Systematic Methodology and Universal Vision

Human Rights Watch (Israel and Palestine) on Common Rights and Law Violations

Ask HRW (Israel and Palestine) 1 – Recent Events

Ask HRW (Israel and Palestine) 2 – Demolitions

Ask HRW (Israel and Palestine) 3 – November-December: Deportation from Tel Aviv, Israel for Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine Director

Ask HRW (Israel and Palestine) 4 – Uninhabitable: The Viability of Gaza Strip’s 2020 Unlivability

Ask HRW (Israel and Palestine) 5 – The Trump Peace Plan: Is This the “The Deal of the Century,” or Not?

Ask HRW (Israel and Palestine) 6 – Tripartite Partition: The Israeli Elections, the International Criminal Court (ICC), and SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19

Ask HRW (Israel and Palestine) 7 – New Heights to the Plight and the Fight: Covid-19, Hegemony, Restrictions, and Rights

Ask HRW (Israel and Palestine) 8 (w/ Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967) – Annexation, International Law, Occupation, Rights, and Settlements

Addenda

Ask HRW (Israel and Palestine) Addendum: Some History and Contextualization of Rights

Other Resources Internal to Canadian Atheist

Interview with Dr. Norman Finkelstein on Gaza Now

Extensive Interview with Gideon Levy

Interview with Musa Abu Hashash – Field Researcher (Hebron District), B’Tselem

Interview with Gideon Levy – Columnist, Haaretz

Interview with Dr. Usama Antar – Independent Political Analyst (Gaza Strip, Palestine)

Interview with Wesam Ahmad – Representative, Al-Haq (Independent Palestinian Human Rights Organization)

Extensive Interview with Professor Richard Falk – Fmr. (5th) United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967

Extensive Interview with Professor John Dugard – Fmr. (4th) United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967

Extensive Interview with S. Michael Lynk – (7th) United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967

Conversation with John Dugard, Richard Falk, and S. Michael Lynk on the Role of the Special Rapporteur, and the International Criminal Court & Jurisdiction

To resolve the Palestinian question we need to end colonialism

Trump’s Colonial Solution to the Question of Palestine Threatens the Foundations of International Law

Dr. Norman Finkelstein on the International Criminal Court

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Footnotes

[1] “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967*” or A/HRC/44/60 stated:

21. Cases of arbitrary arrest and detention by the de-facto authorities in Gaza continued to be reported, particularly of journalist, human rights and political activists. On 9 April, a number of Palestinian activists were arrested and detained by the de-facto authorities after being accused of engaging in “normalization activities with Israel”. A small group of activists had organized a zoom call with young Israeli activists to discuss living conditions in Gaza.30 Many continue to be arrested because of their political affiliation and perceived opposition to the Hamas authorities. Serious restrictions on freedom of expression continue to be in place particularly in the context of reporting on the socio-economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic.31 In June, a number of persons were arrested by the de-facto authorities in Gaza, as they expressed opposing political views and attempted to organize events that were banned by security forces.

22. A number of arrests by Palestinian Security Forces continued to be reported in the West Bank. Many of those arrested were accused of using social media platforms to criticize the Palestinian authority or expressing opposing political views.32 Limitations on freedom of expression remain a concern for journalists. A number of allegations of ill-treatment of those arrested also continue to be received.

United Nations Human Rights Council. (2020).

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing and Editor-in-Chief of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal (ISSN 2369-6885). Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and the advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.

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About Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere. You can contact Scott via email, his website, or Twitter.

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