A global pandemic did nothing to slow down Israeli demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this year, with the number of Palestinians being left homeless reaching a four-year high.
According to data from the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, at least 741 Palestinians have lost their home due to Israeli demolitions between January and September. These numbers are the highest figures since 2016 when Israeli bulldozers left 1,496 Palestinians homeless.
Since January, Israeli authorities ordered the demolition of 99 housing units in the West Bank and 100 in East Jerusalem. Palestinian homes and businesses are destroyed because they do not have building permits, which are virtually impossible for Palestinians to be granted.
The increase in demolitions has come along with a record number of Jewish settlements being advanced. In October, Israel advanced plans for the construction of about 5,000 settler homes in the West Bank. Several hundreds of these homes had already been built and were approved retroactively.
According to the Israeli NGO Peace Now, plans for 12,159 settler homes have been advanced in 2020, the highest number since President Trump took office in 2017. This year marked the most settlements advanced since Peace Now began recording in 2012.