Ramallah – Today, the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, received the Twenty Sixth Annual Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Palestine 2020, released by the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR). His Excellency the President received Mr. Issam Aruri, ICHR Commissioner General, and Dr. Ammar Dwaik, ICHR Director General, at the Presidential Compound in the city of Ramallah. This was followed by an extended meeting with representatives of civil society actors and human rights organisations. In the meeting, the President reviewed challenges to the question of Palestine, important shifts in global public opinion towards solidarity with Palestine, and Israeli settler colonial enterprise.
His Excellency highlighted the oversight role of human rights actors and civil society organisations. These play a significant national role in holding Israeli perpetrators of war crimes to account and networking with the global civil society to support the question of Palestine. Expressing appreciation of this meeting, participants stressed the need for, and importance of, dialogue between the political level and society from across the spectrum, including human rights actors. This is the most direct avenue to deliver messages, convey points of view, and resolve any confusion about positions or decisions. Dialogue needs to be serious and reflect a continuous approach.
Human rights and civil society representatives emphasised that “the greatest risk facing our cause and people is the Israeli occupation and settler racist practices.” While internal tension should be reduced, a balanced relationship needs to be built between the authority and society. This will strengthen citizens’ resilience, direct energies towards confronting the Israeli occupation and crimes, and avoid wasting potential in internal affairs. It will further disrupt efforts by those who attempt to take advantage of internal Palestinian errors in order to delegitimise the national project, divert attention away from Israeli crimes, and undermine international solidarity with the question of Palestine.
Participants discussed the issues of elections and need to continue the national dialogue with the aim of holding elections at all levels, including general elections, as soon as practicable. National sovereignty over Jerusalem will not be abandoned. Discussants also raised a number of issues relating to public freedoms, particularly freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. Passed in February 2021, the Presidential Decree on the promotion of public freedoms in Palestine should be put to effect. The meeting also elaborated on the case of Activist Nizar Banat, laws by decrees, situation of justice, accountability mechanisms within security agencies, and Gaza reconstruction.
Following the meeting, participants handed to His Excellency the President a memorandum, including a set of issues and proposals to consolidate public freedoms and strengthen the domestic front in the face of the occupation. The President issued instructions to maintain the dialogue and follow up on the memorandum.
The delegation included Issam Aruri, Ammar Dwaik, George Jaqaman, Mamdouh al-Aker, Shawan Jabarin, Mahmoud al-Ifranji, Randa Saniora, Du’a Qurei’, Amjad al-Shawwa, Mohammed al-Abboushi, Arij Odeh, and Abdul Qader al-Husseini. Representing the President’s Office, the meeting brought together Dr. Ziyad Abu Amr, Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Mahmoud al-Habbash, Chief Justice and Advisor to the President for Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations, Major General Majed Faraj, Director of the General Intelligence, Consultant Ali Muhanna, Advisor to the President for Legal Affairs, Ms. Intisar Abu Amarah, Director of the President’s Office, Mr. Ahmad Assaf, Supervisor General of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Minister of Information and Spokesman of the President’s Office, and Mr. Majdi al-Khalidi, Advisor to the President for Diplomatic Affairs.
7 September 2021