Israel Steps Up Illegal Destruction of Palestinian Homes and Property

Israel demolished more than 1,000 Palestinian homes and buildings in 2020 and in the first three months of 2021. More than 1,500 Palestinians including some 600 children have been affected and rendered homeless. A large number of the victims have also lost the means of a livelihood and access to vital services as a result, as well as being made more vulnerable to the global corona virus pandemic.

Despite pledging to stop the destruction of Palestinian property on account of the pandemic, the Zionist state has actually stepped up these crimes. Homes and property have been destroyed or seized in the Gaza Strip and also in the West Bank, where Israel has claimed 60 per cent of the lands seized illegally from the Palestinians after the so-called Six Day War in 1967. Israel has been engaged in a systematic program of demolition and confiscation of Palestinian property in what is known as Area C and Al-Quds (East Jerusalem) in an effort to extinguish the historic struggle and claim of the Palestinian people to an independent Palestine with Al-Quds as the capital.

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Palestinian Territories (OCHA) reported that in February 2021 alone, the Israeli army either destroyed or seized 153 Palestinian-owned structures. This represented the highest per month number of such cases since 2009. It would seem that since the recent announcement that the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be undertaking an investigation into the "Situation in Palestine" the Zionist state has stepped up its crimes against the Palestinian people.

In November 2020, Israel destroyed the dwelling tents and property of Palestinian Bedouins living in Khirbet Humsa in the upper Jordan Valley affecting some 75 people in all including 45 children. UN human rights experts denounced this single largest incidence of the destruction of Palestinian property since 2010 and condemned the ongoing illegal campaign of destruction particularly in the time of a pandemic and pointed out that such acts are a serious violation of the human rights of the Palestinians. They added, "We call on Israel to immediately halt its property demolitions in the occupied territory, to ensure that its actions are strictly compliant with its international humanitarian and human rights obligations and to provide protection for, rather than displacement of, the protected population."

For decades, the UN Security Council, the UN General Secretary, and the UN Human Rights Council and other international human rights bodies have all passed resolutions and denounced Israel for the destruction of Palestinian homes and property as well as other human rights crimes and atrocities. The UN Human Rights Council has condemned Israel some 50 times officially for various human rights violations against the Palestinian people yet nothing has been done concretely to stop these crimes. Now that the ICC -- the "court of last resort" -- has decided to investigate, the U.S. and its allies including Canada, Britain, France, Germany, NATO and other instruments of hegemonism in the Middle East are all lining up not to denounce Israel, but to denounce the ICC for its "bias" against Israel! This is what permits the Zionist state to carry on with impunity.

What is decisive in addressing this untenable situation is the resistance of the Palestinian people to the Zionist stand and ongoing struggle to assert their rights that will not be extinguished no matter what. They have the full support of the Canadian people and peoples of the world for their just cause and for their national rights including their right of return. And they will prevail because history is on their side.

(With files from United Nations)

This article was published in

Volume 51 Number 4 - April 4, 2021

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