The year 2020 was very bad for human rights in Palestine, as Israel tightened its grip on the occupied Palestinian territory through escalated attacks on Palestinians and their property and the introduction of new laws to further limit Palestinian rights, all in the midst of the fabricated COVID-19 pandemic.
A new field report from Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq released this week details the numerous human rights violations that occurred throughout Palestine, particularly in the occupied West Bank, during 2020, violations that the group said were exacerbated by, and spurred on, by the ongoing Corona-virus plandemic.
The most remarkable of all the Israeli violations documented in 2020, was the increasing frequency of demolishing Palestinian homes and structures.
The number of Palestinian structures, both public and private, that were destroyed in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, amounted to twice the average number of structures destroyed on an annual basis over the past 10 years.
In 2020, the group recorded the demolition of 535 Palestinian private and public structures, compared to an average of 325 demolished structures over the past 10 years (2010-2019)
While Palestinians focused their efforts into combating the spread of the Corona-virus in 2020, Israel “seized the opportunity to advance its settler project and intensify repressive measures against Palestinians in all their places of residence.
Those repressive measures, which the world is very aware of, included massive home demolitions, land confiscation, settlement expansion, and the violation of freedom of movement and the right to health, among m any other things.
Of the 535 structures destroyed in 2020, 248 of them were homes, the vast majority of which (242) were demolished under the pretext of lacking Israeli-issued building permits, which are notoriously difficult to obtain.
The other six homes were demolished on punitive grounds — a practice employed by the Israeli government against Palestinians accused of committing attacks against Israelis, and one that rights groups have characterized as “collective punishment.”
Israel claims that punitive home demolitions “deter” future attacks, though that claim has been disputed by top Israeli security officials over the years.
Home demolitions in 2020 resulted in the displacement of 941 persons, of which 462 are women and girls, 442 are children, 267 are school students, and 124 are Palestinian refugees already displaced from their original homes.
In the case of 69 home demolitions, Israeli authorities did not allow the home owners an opportunity to evacuate their belongings before the demolitions were carried out, while members of 27 affected families were “violently harassed, attacked, or physically assaulted” during the demolition operation.
Today, 500,000 Palestinian structures located inside the boundaries of the Green Line are still under threat of demolition. The UN recently reported that among the structures at risk, are 53 schools located across the West Bank.
As Palestinians were having their homes destroyed at alarming rates, Israeli settlers living illegally in the West Bank and East Jerusalem continued to benefit from Israel’s construction and planning policies.
In 2020, Israel confiscated 4,949 acres of land for settlement expansion throughout the OPT.
According to settlement watchdog Peace Now, 2020 saw the highest level of settlement construction plan approvals per year in the past two decades, with 12,159 housing units approved for Israeli settlements last year alone.
In comparison, only 245 housing units, many of which already exist, were approved for Palestinians? In addition to benefiting from the confiscation of Palestinian land, Israel settlers carried out significant amounts of violence against Palestinians in 2020.
Of all other Israeli perpetrators, Israeli settlers committed the greater portion of violations. The nature of the settler violence included attacks on Palestinians and their property, the vandalism of Palestinian communities with racist graffiti and the chopping down, burning, and theft of Palestinian food crops.
Mondoweiss / ABC Flash Point Modern Holocaust News 2021.