The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO), Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, AMAN Coalition, and Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) are following with great concern the implementation of the Bylaw on Non-profit Companies No. 20 of 2022 (“NPC Bylaw”) and its application on organizations registered as companies. This problematic bylaw is being implemented despite highly negative reactions against it due to its curbing of CSO work. The said bylaw also breaches the Palestinian Basic Law and Law of Associations, as well as contravening the conventions and accords signed by the State of Palestine. This is because these companies operate according to the law and the best financial and administrative practices, in conformity with Palestinian national priorities and needs.
NGO coalitions recall the active role played by the Palestinian civil society, especially through the different NGOs that support the Palestinian steadfastness and resilience and preserving their national and cultural identity for more than a century. They also recognize the pivotal role of CSOs, which made them a target for Israeli occupation authorities, who constantly attack CSOs and attempt to end their existence.
The coalitions stress the need to change public policies to adhere to the Palestinian Basic Law and uphold public freedoms, especially by resorting to the people as the main source of legislation. These coalitions announced the continuation of the legal campaign to pressure decision-makers to abolish the NPC Bylaw and eliminate all procedures to implement it. The coalitions also express their readiness to hold serious discussions with the government to reach consensus that guarantees the abolition of all bylaws and decisions that undermine the right to form associations and enhance their freedom of action. The government must stop all actions that violate the constitutional rules and international obligations of the Palestinian State. It is also imperative for the government to hold consultations and build partnerships with stakeholder parties and beneficiaries of [public] services.
The coalitions of civil society organizations (CSOs) condemn Israel’s escalation of its settler-colonial and racist attacks against the Palestinian people. This necessitates the strengthening of partnerships, concerted efforts, and complementarity between the different societal segments and sectors, including CSOs. The said coalitions also affirm that continuously curbing NGO activities and operations constitutes a grave breach of the national partnership, which was emphasized by the Declaration of Independence document and Palestinian Basic Law. This is because all democratic political systems must involve stakeholders and civil society actors in decision-making processes at various institutional and legal levels, along with specifying national priorities in a collective manner. Hence, these coalitions assert the need to subject all new amendments and bylaws to dialogue and consultations with civil society representatives and non-profit companies.