Over 1 million Palestinians displaced, 166,000 homes demolished since formation of Israel

House demolition on the West Bank (Mamoun Wazwaz - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  October 7, 2020

Israel has demolished nearly 166,000 Palestinian homes since it was established on the land of Palestine in 1948, a report by the Land Research Centre of the Arab Studies Association in occupied Jerusalem has revealed, adding that more than one million Palestinians have been displaced as a result of the occupation.

“During the first nine months of the year 2020, the occupation forces demolished 450 homes and facilities, and also pushed some Palestinians to demolish their homes with their own hands,” the centre added.

The report also highlighted that the Israeli regime had adopted the policy of limiting construction by Palestinians, forcing them to resort to building their homes without permits.

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Six Day War. It justifies the demolition of Palestinian homes by saying that they lack building permits, despite the fact that Israel very rarely issues such permits to Palestinians.

The Zionist state, meanwhile, approves the construction of thousands of residential units within illegal settlements built on occupied Palestinian land.

The centre added that Palestinians based in occupied East Jerusalem alone are in urgent need of 25,000 residential units.

Palestinians believe the true purpose of the restrictive planning regime is to empty the city of its indigenous Palestinian inhabitants.

Last month, it was reported that the number of building permits Israel granted Palestinians in the occupied territories decreased by 45 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.

The UN’s Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted in an April 2019 report that in East Jerusalem “a restrictive planning regime applied by Israel makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits.”

The building permits are charged at extortionate prices and are unaffordable for most Palestinians, creating a legal loophole for Israel to annex more land and to leave Palestinians in limbo by preventing them from developing infrastructure.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also announced that he will plans to annex more areas in the occupied West Bank, in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”, despite widespread criticism from the international community.

The proposal gives in to Israel’s demands while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders.

Israel’s widely practiced policy of home demolitions targeting entire families are acts of illegal collective punishment and come in direct violation of International Human Rights Law.