President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, January 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Leah Millis)
Palestinians Killed & Injured by Israeli Forces
30: Total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territories (the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza), according to the United Nations, including 27 who were shot with live ammunition.
9: Number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in the occupied territories.
2,639: Total number of Palestinians injured by Israeli forces in the occupied territories, including 407 children.
Homes Destroyed & Palestinians Displaced by Israel
273: Number of Palestinian homes destroyed by Israel in the occupied territories, including 121 in East Jerusalem and 152 in the West Bank, according to B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Often, Palestinians are forced to destroy their own homes or face a large fine from Israeli authorities to do it.
848: Total number of Palestinian homes and other structures (including businesses and agricultural works) destroyed by Israel in the occupied territories, according to the UN, mostly for being built without permits from Israeli authorities that are “almost impossible to obtain.”
1006: Number of Palestinians in the occupied territories displaced by Israel’s destruction of their homes, including 379 in East Jerusalem (194 of them minors) and 627 in the West Bank (325 of them minors), according to B’Tselem.
More than 100,000: Number of Palestinian homes destroyed by the Israeli government in the occupied territories and inside Israel since the state was established in 1948, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
Expansion of Illegal Israeli Settlements on Occupied Palestinian Land
12,159: Number of settlement units that passed one of the planning stages, to be built on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) in violation of international law and numerous UN resolutions, according to settlement watchdog group Peace Now. It was the highest number since they began recording it in 2012.
256: Number of Israeli settlements built illegally on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, including 132 official settlements, and 124 nascent settlement “outposts” built in violation of Israeli law as well as international law but with the tacit approval of successive Israeli governments.
Approximately 650,000: Total number of Israeli settlers living on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law.
Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israeli Jails (as of December 2020)
4400: Number of Palestinian political prisoners, according to Addameer: Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.
440: Number of Palestinians imprisoned without charge or trial by Israel using a practice called “administrative detention.”
160: Number of Palestinian children imprisoned by Israel.
37: Number of Palestinian women imprisoned by Israel.
8: Number of Palestinian Legislative Council members imprisoned by Israel, including 4 being held without charge or trial.
Israeli Settler Violence Against Palestinians
340: Number of attacks by Jewish settlers causing injuries to Palestinians that required medical treatment and/or damage to their property in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to the UN.
130: Number of Palestinians injured by settler attacks.
9,326: Number of Palestinian trees damaged or destroyed by settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
176: Number of Palestinian vehicles vandalized by Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Frequently: Israeli soldiers accompany and protect settlers while they assault Palestinians and their property, sometimes joining the attack (see video). Sometimes, the soldiers also detain or arrest the Palestinian victims instead of the Israeli perpetrators (see video).
Notable Events of 2020
Palestinians were left virtually defenseless in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic with Israel controlling all of occupied Palestine’s borders and potentially infected Israeli settlers and soldiers entering unimpeded. While Israelis, including settlers living illegally on occupied Palestinian land, were among the first to receive vaccines to protect against Covid-19, millions of Palestinians living under Israeli military rule are still waiting (as of January 7, 2020). Human rights groups condemned Israel for failing to live up to its legal obligations as an occupying power by refusing to vaccinate Palestinians under its control, with Amnesty International noting it “exposes Israel’s institutionalized discrimination.” The pandemic also devastated the Palestinian economy, already suffering under restrictions imposed by Israel’s occupation regime. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the GDP per capita of the occupied Palestinian territories was projected to decrease by 3% to 4.5% in 2020-2021, even before the pandemic.
Palestinians endured their thirteenth year living under Israel’s suffocating siege and blockade in Gaza, which is a form of collective punishment that has been condemned as illegal by the UN and human rights organizations. In 2020, Israeli authorities actually tightened the blockade further, including denying Palestinians the ability to travel to attend funerals and weddings of immediate family members. In November, the UN released a report that found the blockade has cost Palestinians in Gaza as much as $16.7 billion in economic losses, causing poverty and unemployment to skyrocket, and severe shortages of clean water and electricity, stating, “The result has been the near-collapse of Gaza’s regional economy and its isolation from the Palestinian economy and the rest of the world.”
Israel continued to intensify its displacement of Palestinians and expansion of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes made 1,006 Palestinians homeless in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2020, the highest number since 2016. At the same time, the Israeli government advanced more settlement units through the planning stages than any year on record, 12,159. (See above for more on Israeli settlements and destruction of Palestinian homes.)
Saeb Erekat, the longtime senior Palestinian negotiator, passed away from Covid-19. Erekat was once seen as a possible successor to Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
In March, Israel had its third election in a year and Prime Minister Netanyahu managed to form another right-wing coalition government, dividing the opposition by co-opting leader Benny Gantz into a power-sharing deal that fell apart in December, before Gantz served his term as prime minister as part of a rotation with Netanyahu. New elections are currently scheduled to be held on March 23, 2021.