Why an Advocacy Unit?
After the occupation and unlawful annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel granted the Palestinian residents of the city a precarious and inferior civil status, a “permanent residency”, and has deployed a series of discriminatory laws and policies against them. The objectives are twofold: first, to ensure that both sides of Jerusalem will remain under Israeli control and sovereignty, and second, to maintain a Jewish majority in the city. As a result, Palestinians in East Jerusalem are forced to deal with the devastating impacts of Israel’s measures against them. These measures, which seek to cement the Israeli grip on the city and to stifle the Palestinian identity vary widely. Examples include revoking residencies, denying building permits, implementing discriminatory zoning plans, the use of excessive force, home demolishment, denying or limiting access to services, forcible transfer, collective punishment, pillaging natural resources, expropriating private property, and desecration of shrines.
In response to the growing crisis of the denial of basic rights for the Palestinian community in Jerusalem, the advocacy unit has pledged, since its establishment in 2016, to expose, condemn, and challenge the Israeli occupation and its reprehensible and illegal treatment of Palestinians in Jerusalem. Our goal is to end the measures that prevent Palestinian Jerusalemites from leading self-determined lives with safety and dignity.
We believe that this can be achieved through collaborative work with other human rights organizations, both local and international, who support the just and fair struggle of Palestinians in Jerusalem for liberation, and who share with us the vision of a Jerusalem without occupation.
We want to mobilize informed and active supporters to push key international players (for example, third state governments, EU and UN bodies) to prevent the State of Israel from implementing illegal and discriminatory policies that deny Palestinians their basic human rights.
How do we achieve our goal?
Community-based international advocacy in action
Engage with the community - Know the challenges
Community involvement is a central component of our international advocacy efforts. Our legal aid clinic alongside our community advocacy unit makes certain that we stay well-informed regarding the challenges that Palestinians in Jerusalem are encountering, and ensures strong links with local Palestinian families. We process the facts and accounts we collect from the community through the lens of international law in order to arrive at the best courses of action that we then recommend to international actors.
This basis of information and connection allows us to build the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to raise the attention of local and international bodies. These bodies may then respond immediately to urgent concerns and mount mid- and long-term campaigns to stop Israel’s illegal and inhumane practices.
Monitor, document and report
Our advocacy unit monitors and documents the human rights violations that happen in East Jerusalem, analyses the collected data according to legal research, and prepares materials that unmask the occupation’s abuses and shed light on the social, political and economic reality of Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
Support people and promote links between people and groups
Victims of abusive laws and policies have important contributions to our advocacy strategies. We actively engage with community members to encourage them to tell their stories and to take part in our campaigns and actions. We empower community members through media training, education forums, and supporting their participation at briefings and on panels, while fostering communication and dialogue with other groups and networks. This is how we build connections among groups and create a stronger, collective response to Palestinian needs and issues.
We want local and international supporters to know and to ACT. Our strategy involves developing tools and activities that supporters can use to promote action from the institutions and individuals with the power to make the changes we need to see. Building our base of support, influence, and power to make change is a long term process. We think creatively and strategically about how to use social and mainstream media, community actions, lobbying, and more to make progress on our campaigns.