Memorandum submitted by the Palestinian
1.1 The PNGO network is a voluntary cluster
of over 90 Palestinian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working
in various human, social and development fields. They share a
unified vision: the development and strengthening of the Palestinian
NGO sector and civil society as a whole.
1.2 The network was established to ensure,
through communication and co-ordination, that Palestinian NGOs
and civil society could create an effective body to protect and
promote the values and voice of civil rights and democracy within
Palestine. The PNGO network works to enhance and strengthen the
capacity of its members and the sector to enable them to play
a more active role in the development process.
1.3 Over the past three years Palestinian
civil society has not only been under direct attack from the militant
policies of the Israeli military occupation, which has routinely
attacked civil organisations trying to provide humanitarian assistance
to the civilian population; it has also suffered the devastating
consequences of the Israeli policies of closure and curfew. Palestinian
NGOs are routinely denied access to carry out their humanitarian
work; their premises destroyed, equipment stolen, and action impeded.
1.4 These actions have been `legitimatised'
in the name of Israel's security, in gross violation and contravention
of International Human Rights law, namely the Forth Geneva conventions.
1.5 As a result, the PNGO network, acting
as the voice of some 90 civil society organisations, believes
that the international donor community needs to urgently:
address the political root cause
of the present under-development of the Palestinian Community:
ie the illegal military occupation of the Palestinian Territories;
address the gross, flagrant violations
of human rights practiced by the occupying force against the Palestinian
civilians and civil society organisations operating in the Palestinian
work at making Israel accountable
for its policies and practices against civilians in direct violation
of humanitarian law and UN resolutions;
stop the construction of the separating
apartheid wall currently under construction in the heart of the
stop the policy of closure, which
imprisons millions of people inside their towns and villages and
has had devastating social and economic consequences on the Palestinians;
immediately stop the expansionist
settlement policy of the Israeli government and make Israel abide
with international law and international legitimacy stipulated
in the United Nations Resolutions;
hold Israel accountable for its illegal
transfer of some 231,000 Israeli citizens, to settlements in the
Occupied Palestinian Areas, changing the demographic make up of
the areas which Israel occupies which is a blatant violation of
international law, which prohibits occupying forces from such
ensure international protection for
the Palestinian civilians living under the Israeli military occupation;
ensure access to resources, particular
water, and guarantee full control of free trade, including free
movements of people and goods to and from, as well within, the
ensure that the critical role of
Palestinian society is fully recognized and protected under international
ensure Palestinian Civil Society
is supported by the international community where any longer-term,
sustainable political solution will depend on a fully enfranchised
and active Palestinian civil society; and ensure that the international
donor policy continues to support the important role of Palestinian
civil society in meeting the immediate humanitarian needs of the
2. THE DEVELOPMENT
2.1 During the last two decades, Civil Society
Organisations (CSOs) in Palestine have developed substantially.
The absence of a national government and the long-standing Israeli
military occupation of the Palestinian land necessitated the growth
and development of CSOs in Palestine.
2.2 The context through which CSOs started
to function was based on civil resistance and self-organisation.
Hence social movements and civil society structures started to
develop in the Palestinian community, through which civil non-violent
resistance was practiced against the illegal Israeli Military
2.3 The aid assistance provided by international
agencies for CSO has contributed a great deal to the development
of civil and popular movements in the Palestinian community. Prior
to the Oslo Agreement and the establishment of the Palestinian
Authority (PA), the Palestinian NGO sector was the main provider
of humanitarian assistance and other essential social services
for the Palestinian population. Since the establishment of the
PA, still in its embryonic stages, the sector has remained an
important provider of services, meeting the needs of the Palestinian
community at a time when the emerging national structures were
in their initial stage of development and formation.
2.4 CSOs are considered to be highly effective,
professional tools for poverty alleviation programs, health provision,
social and rehabilitation services, as well as performing their
essential role in education, agriculture and other developing
sectors. Their readiness, ability and enthusiasm to serve their
own communities have been instrumental in enhancing socio-economic
development in Palestine.
2.5 Since the creation of the PA and the
emergence of national structures, the role of the CSOs has started
to change more towards one of lobbying and advocacy, as well as
service provision. Human rights and democratic transformation
of the Palestinian community were major themes of the work of
CSOs in Palestine following the establishment of the central and
national government structure in the country.
2.6 However, the role of civil society,
and NGOs in particular, in service provision and poverty alleviation
continues to be crucial as the new government structures have
not yet had the capacity to take over all the responsibilities
in this area. As well as being better structured to provide services
in many social fields, the work of the NGOs has been crucial in
ensuring community and broader popular participation in the development
2.7 The work of NGOs in enhancing democratic
values and civil culture has been visible in all fields. A gender
component has been integrated into many areas of the development
process, including health and rehabilitation. CSOs and NGOs have
developed advocacy tools and strategies to influence national
polices, and to promote equitable, sound and just development
2.8 CSOs have been effective in the emergency
and relief intervention due to a number of factors:
Through their well distributed teams
and social networks they have been able to continue their operations
in all areas and to provide essential services to the needy population.
Their decentralised structures have
helped in maintaining their flexibility to operate in differing
conditions and a changing and vulnerable environment where siege
and closures imposed by the Israeli army have been a major obstacle.
They have been most active in organising
solidarity activities with the Palestinian cause, through the
involvement of international solidarity groups, and peace movements
Most importantly, CSOs have been
most active in promoting the concept of civil non-violent resistance
through wide participation of civil groups and movements.
2.9 The promotion of networking among all
players in civil society and the formation of a CS coordination
committee are considered very important steps in the overall development
process of a civil society movement in Palestine.
2.10 The support provided for civil society
is believed to be an important element in promoting the values
of civility and democracy. Hence, it is valuable in terms of peace
making, and is a major factor in promoting a comprehensive, just
and lasting peace in Palestine. In turn it is a major contributing
factor to peace efforts in the region to bring about a just and
3.1 As the current situation on the ground
is becoming extremely critical and as the civilian population
are suffering the most from the violence inflicted by the occupying
force, it is essential to immediately deploy an international
peace keeping force that can guarantee security for both sides
and create a conducive environment for the resumption of the peace
negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Government
3.2 It is the duty of the international
community to stop Israeli settlement policy as this policy aggravates
the situation on the ground and creates no possibility for bringing
about a viable solution for Palestinians living in the Occupied
3.3 There should be an immediate intervention
by the international community to stop the building of the apartheid
wall on the Palestinian lands.
3.4 As Israel continues to violate the international
law and continues its discrimination and racist policies, certain
measures should be taken against the Israeli state, including
the boycott of Israeli products and the cessations of any military
cooperation or agreements with the Israeli Government.
3.5 It is the duty of representatives of
the people members of parliament and civil society activists to
raise their voice and to exert a real pressure on their respective
governments to change their policies towards the state of Israel.
3.6 Justice, human rights, equality, security
and human dignity are inseparable universal values and apply to
humankind and the international community should be actively ensuring
that these values are applied in this area of the Middle East.
3.7 Humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian
people must continue and civil society organisations working to
provide those services should be supported and protected.
3.8 Access to humanitarian assistance and
essential medical, social, educational, agricultural services
and water resources should be guaranteed and ensured for the Palestinian
3.9 Palestinian civil society organizations
should be supported to play an active, viable role in the overall
development process of the Palestinian Occupied Territories.