Occupied Palestine (QNN)- From the Israeli violations in the Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza to settlement in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the crackdown on Palestinians in the 1948-occupied territories, 2021 saw events, which reshaped the reality of the Palestinian cause and people.
In this piece, we take a look back at the most major events that took place in Palestine and we, in QNN, have covered.
Israel’s medical apartheid
Amidst the surge in COVID 19 cases and deaths in the world and Palestine, the occupation state bragged about leading the world in the global vaccination race but leaving Palestinians, under its occupation, denied access to vaccines.
Until the first month of 2021, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 159,034 Palestinians in the OPT, including the eastern part of Jerusalem, have tested positive for coronavirus since the first confirmed case was reported in March 2020. There have been also nearly 1,600 deaths related to COVID-19 among Palestinians in the OPT since the beginning of the pandemic.
International human rights organizations called on ‘Israel’ to provide coronavirus vaccine doses to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, saying ‘Israel’ is obligated to do so under international law.
In the same context, Israeli authorities were criticized after depriving Palestinian political detainees in its prisons from vaccination even when reports about the infection of hundreds of detainees, surfaced.
The occupation state finally complied and announced that it would vaccinate Palestinian prisoners against COVID-19.
ICC rules its jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by ‘Israel’
In February 2021, the International Criminal Court said that its jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by ‘Israel’ in the 1967 war, clearing the way for its chief prosecutor to open a war crimes probe into Israeli war crimes.
Two weeks after the ICC’s rule, the occupation state inked a law that prohibits cooperating with the International Criminal Court (ICC) with a five-year prison sentence as punishment for anyone who violates the law.
Social media crackdown on Palestinian content
Last November, calls by pro-Palestine activists increased to protest against the repression of Palestinian voices by social media platforms.
Earlier this year, Frances Haugen, a data scientist who used to work for Facebook, revealed that the company was promoting hate speech for profit, and said her lawyers have filed at least eight complaints with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Shortly after that, a report by The Intercept revealed that Facebook has a secret blacklist, upon which its algorithms depend in censoring content. The blacklist includes dozens of Palestinian figures and organizations and zero Israeli targets.
An investigation by Human Rights Watch stated that Facebook and Instagram repressed Palestinian content, including documentation of Israeli human rights violations, during the Israeli crackdown on native Palestinians in May this year. The investigation pushed Facebook to promise that it will allow an independent body to launch an investigation into content moderation of Arabic and Hebrew posts.
Abbas calls off elections
The leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, postponed rare parliamentary elections last April, stirring outrage among Palestinians. Abbas claimed they could only happen if ‘Israel’ allows Palestinians to vote in the Israeli-occupied eastern part of Jerusalem.
Shortly after the postponement, PA officials announced the cancelation of the elections.
Parliamentary and presidential elections – the first since 2006 – were scheduled to take place in May and July. The cancelation came as Abbas was facing unprecedented decrease in popularity, according to polls, which could weaken his party’s chance of success.
Israeli violations in Sheikh Jarrah and Al Aqsa mosque lead to war with Gaza
The resistance called Palestinians across historic Palestine for announcing general alarm all along the days of Ramadan to defend Al Aqsa mosque and occupied Jerusalem. The Chief Staff of Al Qassam, Muhammad Deif, warned the occupation state of retaliation if it does not stop its attacks on Jerusalemites and Al Aqsa mosque.
Shortly after Deif’s warning, the joint chamber of the resistance fired a barrage of missiles at occupied Askalan amid Israeli continuous attacks on worshipers at Al Aqsa mosque and residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, were killed in 11 days of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza strip, while hundreds were killed, wounded, and detained in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the 1949-occupied territories.
‘Israel’ designates six Palestinian human rights organizations as terrorist groups
Last October, the Israeli occupation government declared six leading Palestinian NGOs to be affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP): Addameer, Al Haq, Bisan Center, DCI-P, Samidoun and UAWC. All six organizations were labeled terrorist groups even without providing any proof of Israeli claims against them.
Shortly after the occupation state designated six Palestinian human rights organizations as terrorist “organizations”, international rights groups rejected the decision and called for reversing it.
The UN also said that Israel’s decision to designate the six NGOs as terror groups was an attack on human rights defenders, on freedoms of association, opinion and expression and on the right to public participation.
Gilboa Prison Break
Last September, six Palestinian prisoners escaped from Israel’s Gilbou prison, a high-security prison, through a secret tunnel they had dug beneath the prison.
Mahmoud Arda (46 years old), Mohammad Arda (39 years old), Yaaqob Qadri (49 years old), and Ayham Kamanji (35 years old), dug a tunnel using dishes and frying pans to free themselves from Israel’s most secured facility, which has been even described as being more secure than a bank safe.