Israel continues to systemic oppression during...
Israeli authorities have continued to systematically repress and discriminate against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Between March and August, Israeli authorities demolished 389 Palestinian homes and other structures in the West Bank, the majority for lacking building permits that Israeli authorities make virtually impossible to obtain, displacing 442, according to OCHA. OCHA found that this represented the highest demolition rate in four years.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement during the 45th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) that “Israel’s systematic repression of Palestinians continues during a pandemic. Furthermore, Human Rights Watch said the strong evidence that serious crimes have been committed in Palestine since 2014 underscores the need for International Criminal Court scrutiny over the situation through a formal investigation. Amid US government attempts to undermine the court’s work through the use of punitive measures against the court’s personnel, HRW encouraged states to speak out to reaffirm their commitment to the court’s mandate and independence.
It also affirmed that the continued entrenchment of Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank also highlights the urgency of the continued updating and public reporting of the database of businesses contributing to those settlements. The Human Rights Council has already decided that the database is to be updated annually and should ensure appropriate resourcing and clear timeframes for that reporting. According to international law, an occupying power is banned from destroying property unless “absolutely necessary” for “military operations.”
On May 30, Israeli border police in the Old City of Jerusalem fatally shot an unarmed 32-year-old Palestinian man with autism, Eyad al-Hallaq, in a “closed space” where he did not “endanger” anyone, according to what an officer on the scene reportedly told Israeli investigators. Israeli authorities have yet to announce the results of their investigation. On June 23, border police shot and killed 26-year-old Ahmed Erekat after his car crashed into a checkpoint and he exited the vehicle in circumstances where he did not appear to pose an imminent threat to life. Authorities characterized the incident as a car-ramming attack; his family challenges that characterization and says it must have been accidental. International human rights law standards on the use of force during law enforcement permit the intentional use of lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.
The COVID-19 pandemic represents a serious threat for civilian populations all over the world, but especially in the occupied Palestinian territory. Under international law, the Israeli authorities are responsible for the protection of Palestinian civilians under their military occupation in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. However, Israeli military operations in the West Bank have continued, exposing the affected Palestinians to a greater risk of contamination. In parallel, settler violence against Palestinians, which has been increasing in the last years, is now peaking, as settlers take advantage of the restrictions to step up their violence against Palestinians and their property and seize more Palestinian land.
The sad thing is that while Israel is actively erasing Palestinians’ land, livelihoods, stories, personhoods, and histories, the United States is providing Israel with funding, technical assistance, hardware, and even language to carry out its ongoing brutal and violent absorption of Palestine into Israel.