Responsibility to express : a study of local and international organizations working on human rights in Israel-Palestine.
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The study “Responsibility to express” seeks to answer the question “How can local and international organizations contribute to the realization of a greater number of human rights in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?” The objectives are: “To emphasize how the organizations work to progressively implement or achieve the selected human rights and how they choose what to focus upon”; “To examine what could be achieved with human rights work”; and “To analyze how freedom of expression plays a role for local and international organizations working on human rights”. Participants interviewed and observed are the Israeli organizations Machsom Watch, Breaking the Silence and Amnesty International Israel; the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group and the Middle East Non-Violence and Democracy; and the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, and Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. The field work was conducted in Jerusalem August-October 2010, and in Hebron September-December 2011. The organizations focus on the military occupation; the separation barrier, military checkpoints and permit system; demolition of Palestinian houses and building of Israeli settlements; and the use of violence and arrests. The organizations work on collecting and providing information by observing, documenting and reporting on the issues they focus on. Israeli organizations focus on the Israeli policies in the territory, and Palestinian organizations focus on internal issues in the Palestinian society and the occupation. The international organizations work on human rights violations related to the military occupation and the behaviour of the Israeli and Palestinian governments. The organizations meet internal challenges within the organizations, and external challenges related to the society and political situation. The goals of the Israeli organizations are to provide information and contribute to debate about the occupation. The goals of the Palestinian organizations are to focus on human rights internally in the Palestinian society and the Israeli occupation. The local organizations aim to influence the civil society, while the international organizations aim to influence the behaviour of the Israeli and Palestinian governments in addition to the grass root level. All organizations aim to influence both locally and internationally. Freedom of expression is important organizations working on human rights and the responsibility to express is the motivation behind observing, documenting and reporting on the situation. This study shows that local and international organizations work to provide information, knowledge and experiences to create awareness locally and internationally to contribute to the realization of a greater number of human rights in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.