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Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    August 19, 2019

    15 August 2019

    The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
    Minister of Health
    The Honourable James Carr 
    Minister of International Trade Diversification
    The Honourable David Lametti
    Minister of Justice and Attorney-General

    Re: Kattenburg v. Canada (Attorney General) – Israeli settlement products – Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement

    Dear Ministers Petitpas Taylor, Carr and Lametti:

    We write with an urgent request that the Canadian government not appeal the recent, important Federal Court decision – in Kattenburg v. Canada (Attorney General) – that goods imported into Canada from the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem must not be identified as “Products of Israel.” The ruling provides important human rights safeguards which we call on the government to accept and respect.

    July 31, 2019

    The Israeli authorities must urgently investigate death threats targeting three civil society organizations, including Amnesty International’s Israeli section in Tel Aviv, the organization’s International Secretariat said today.

    Anonymous death threats were sprayed last night outside the offices of Amnesty International Israel and ASSAF, an organization working to assist refugees and asylum-seekers in Israel. At the same time, a box containing death threats and a dead mouse was left at the entrance to the Elifelet Children’s Activity Center for refugees.

    “These are deplorable and malicious acts targeting civil society organizations carrying out human rights work. The Israeli authorities should take a strong stand by publicly condemning these acts and making clear that attacks against NGOs will not be tolerated,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. 

    July 30, 2019
    Bulldozer with TripAdvisor logo underneath it

    By Laith Abu Zeyad, Amnesty International campaigner on Israel/ Palestine

    On June 20, World Refugee Day, TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer published an op-ed urging businesses to help address the global refugee crisis and pledging to donate millions of dollars to humanitarian organisations "to support and help refugees rebuild their lives and reclaim their futures".

    This is, of course, a commendable initiative, if only it did not contradict in spirit other practices of the company. While TripAdvisor has decided to help refugees in certain parts of the world, elsewhere - namely in the occupied Palestinian territories - it is contributing to the suffering of the local population, which itself is the source of one of the world's largest refugee communities.

    July 23, 2019
    Key to the house of Mohammad Abu Nasser's family in the former village of Tel al-Saba.

    Amnesty International marked the 71st anniversary of the Nakba with “70 + Years of Suffocation”,  an online showcase of Palestinian refugees living in the OPT, Lebanon and Jordan who have shared their reality and experiences of being “stateless”. Award winning photographer, Tanya Habjouqa, has taken pictures that weave a relationship with the interviews, giving the reader visual context. 

    For over 50 years, Israel has been confiscating Palestinian land and bulldozing Palestinian homes with complete impunity. These lands are being used to build illegal settlements to house Israeli citizens, while Palestinians become homeless. 

    As Israel continues to suffocate the existence of Palestinians by controlling most aspects of their daily and private lives while attempting to present a reality void of its inhumane treatment of Palestinians, it’s more crucial than ever that Palestinians, the oldest and largest refugee group in the world, have platforms to be heard. 

    July 18, 2019

    Amnesty International has joined a legal case brought by Human Rights Watch (HRW) to challenge the legality of the Israeli government’s decision to revoke the work permit of its Israel and Palestine Director, the organization said today. is

    A ruling by the Jerusalem District Court confirming the authorities’ decision to expel Omar Shakir is an unreasonable and disproportionate restriction on the rights to freedom of expression and association, Amnesty International is arguing in an amicus curia briefing submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem today. The court is scheduled to hear the case on 25 July 2019.

    “The Israeli authorities’ decision to deport Omar Shakir is a crushing blow to freedom of expression in the country and sends an alarming signal to human rights activists and civil society in general of the extent they are willing to go in their attempt to silence those who defend human rights.” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    July 10, 2019
    	The Israeli government forcibly evicted hundreds of Palestinians to develop the ancient ruins of Susya/Susiya in the south of the West bank into a tourist attraction and settlement.

    Dear TripAdvisor employees,

    We are writing to ask you to join us in speaking out against TripAdvisor’s role in driving human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

    Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights organization, with more than seven million supporters and members globally. Through research and campaigning, we help ensure respect for people’s human rights and that those who violate them are held accountable. We also campaign for a world in which companies respect human rights and don’t contribute to, or profit from, human rights violations wherever they operate in the world.

    June 07, 2019

    June 2019 marks the 52nd anniversary of Israel’s capture of the West Bank and Gaza Strip during a war with its neighbours, and the beginning of its occupation of Palestinian territory. Today, over 600,000 Jewish-Israeli settlers are living on occupied Palestinian land and are afforded protections and benefits, of which over 4.9 million Palestinians living in the same territory do not have access to. This is the direct result of a discriminatory system of laws and policies that ensure that Palestinians are not afforded the same rights or services as Israeli settlers.

    For 52 years, hundreds of thousands of hectares of Palestinian land have been appropriated and exploited by Israel. For 52 years, tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and structures have been demolished in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), resulting in the displacement of thousands of Palestinians. The wanton destruction of property and the forcible transfer of civilians in the occupied territory are both war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. 

    May 29, 2019

    Beyond Israel’s internationally recognized border is the Palestinian territory — the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza strip — which it has occupied since the 1967 war.

    While Israel rejects that it’s the occupying power, there is a virtual wall-to-wall consensus among the international community — including the United Nations, the European Union, the International Court of Justice, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Canada — that the laws of occupation, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, apply in full to the Palestinian territory.

    I am a Special Rapporteur for the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation in the Palestinian territory, and my co-author is the secretary general of Amnesty International Canada. So we know that the laws of occupation are strict.

    May 15, 2019

    Danna Ingleton is Deputy Director of Amnesty Tech 

    In June last year, one of my colleagues at Amnesty International received a WhatsApp message from an unknown number. It contained details about a protest supposedly taking place at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, and my colleague was instantly suspicious. The message came at a time when Amnesty International was campaigning for the release of six jailed activists in Saudi Arabia, and something didn’t feel right.

    An analysis of the links in the message proved these suspicions to be well-founded. Amnesty’s Tech team found that clicking the link would have secretly installed potent spyware on the phone, obtaining total access to calls, messages, photos and GPS location. A closer look enabled us to trace the attack back to a secretive Israeli company: NSO Group.

    May 14, 2019
    Nabi Saleh demonstrations, 2013

    Palestinians living in the occupied territories cannot get to work or school, or see their friends and family without feeling the disruptive effect of Israel’s military rule. It restricts the ability to farm their land, attend a protest, improve their homes, raise families, travel for medical purposes, or access essential services such as electricity and clean water.

    A Palestinian prisoner’s experience is even more dire: they must not only withstand all the above, but also arbitrary detention from Israeli and Palestinian forces, cruel and unlawful treatment, the repression of fundamental human rights, and the ongoing unlawful detention of children.

    For both, life is made all the more insufferable by Israel’s ever-expanding settlement operation.

    May 10, 2019

    Amnesty International is supporting a legal action to take the Israeli Ministry of Defence (MoD) to court, to demand that it revokes the export license of NSO Group, an Israeli company whose spyware products have been used in chilling attacks on human rights defenders around the world.

    In a petition to be filed tomorrow at the District Court of Tel Aviv, approximately 50 members and supporters of Amnesty International Israel and others from the human rights community set out how the MoD has put human rights at risk by allowing NSO to continue exporting its products. In August 2018 an Amnesty staff member was targeted by a particularly invasive piece of NSO Group software called Pegasus, also linked to attacks on activists and journalists in Saudi Arabia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.

    “NSO Group sells its products to governments who are known for outrageous human rights abuses, giving them the tools to track activists and critics. The attack on Amnesty International was the final straw,” said Danna Ingleton, Deputy Director of Amnesty Tech, who has provided supporting testimony.

    March 29, 2019

    In March 1976, Israel ordered the confiscation of 2,000 hectares of land that belonged to Palestinian citizens of Israel. In response, on March 30 of the same year, Palestinians held demonstrations across Galilee in the north all the way to the Negev in the South. Six Palestinians were killed and more than a hundred were injured.

    Following these horrific events, this day came to be known as Land Day or ‘Yom Al-Ard’, an annual observance in which Palestinians commemorate and demonstrate their commitment to the right and ownership of their land.

    Israel’s land grab: ongoing devastation

    Since 1967, Israel’s policy of constructing and expanding illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land has continued unabated, and is one of the main driving forces behind the mass human rights violations resulting from the occupation.

    Over the past 50 years, Israel has:

    demolished tens of thousands of Palestinian properties

    March 26, 2019

    Responding to reports that at least seven people were injured after a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “Amnesty International condemns the rocket attack from Gaza that hit a home in central Israel wounding Israeli civilians.

    “Attacks on civilians, and indiscriminate attacks, are never justified and a serious violation of international humanitarian law. The threats from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to respond with further military action are also deeply worrying.

    “Israel has repeatedly displayed a chilling disregard for civilian life and carried out wide-scale deadly attacks in densely-populated civilian areas of Gaza in violation of international humanitarian law.

    “There must be no repeat of the unlawful attacks that killed and injured thousands of civilians in Gaza, destroyed homes and devastated infrastructure during conflicts in previous years.

    “We are calling on Hamas, Israel and all parties involved in the conflict to respect international humanitarian law.”

    March 20, 2019
    Canada must recognize the human rights implications of CIFTA


    Amnesty International has written an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, and the Minister of International Trade and Diversification, the Honourable James Gordon Carr, regarding the absence of distinction between products made on illegal Israeli settlements and other Israeli products in the amendments to the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Bill C-85). Amnesty International is concerned about the consequences this has on the human rights situation of Palestinians living in the occupied territories.

    The three-page letter calls on the Canadian government to uphold its duties under international law by ensuring that settlement goods are barred from Canada and business is not benefiting from human rights violations caused by the ongoing occupation.

    February 25, 2019

    An investigative journalist who published a report revealing corruption within the ministry of health in Gaza is facing up to six months in jail, said Amnesty International, ahead of her appeal hearing tomorrow. 

    Hajar Harb, a Palestinian journalist from Gaza, released an investigative report on al-Araby TV  on 25 June 2016 highlighting that the ministry, which is run by the Hamas de-facto administration, was profiting by arranging illegal medical transfers out of the Gaza Strip for people who did not need treatment. She has been charged with a series of offences including defamation and the publication of false news.

    “The prosecution of Hajar Harb is an outrageous assault on media freedom. The authorities in Gaza are blatantly seeking to punish her for exposing corruption within the Hamas administration. The authorities must drop all the charges against her immediately,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

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