The pandemic has been and continues to be hard on people worldwide. It’s caused many deaths, some countries hit harder than others. It’s led to the collapse of economies, the loss of jobs.
Peoples’ normal social lives are disrupted. In so many countries people are told to stay home because of the pandemic.
Everywhere, governments and the public are totally absorbed in their own situation, and especially the US, with their own political problems.
Israel has taken advantage of this and gone on a demolition spree. More Palestinians were made homeless in 2020 than in any other year, with the exception of 2016, since the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, began keeping records in 2009.
Quoting from Tamara Nassar’s electronicintifada article: Israel went on Demolition Spree in 2020
“Israel demolished and confiscated more than 850 Palestinian structures throughout the year, displacing 1,000 people. More than half of those displaced were children.
Israel targeted almost any kind of structure Palestinians need for sustainable life, including homes, agricultural buildings, infrastructure and water sanitation facilities.”
“In November alone, Israeli forces demolished and confiscated more Palestinian structures in a single month on record since 2009, according to OCHA.
November also witnessed the largest single demolition in occupied territory in years, when Israel leveled most of the occupied West Bank community of Khirbet Humsa.
Israeli forces arrived in Khirbet Humsa on 3 November and demolished 76 structures. More than 70 Palestinians were made homeless, including 41 children – totaling 11 families.”
Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar called the demolition “a grave crime” at the time and asserted that “the United States of America should not be bankrolling ethnic cleansing.”
This story will not surprise anyone who has been following the happenings in historic Palestine.
But I wonder how any Kiwis are aware of a New Zealand connection.
It’s bad enough that our academic, political, religious and media elite are indifferent and silent. The silence itself is in effect complicity.
But take a close look at the picture. It shows a house in the West Bank, near Hebron, being demolished on 29 December last year, by Israeli forces using Hyundai equipment.
Our NZ Superfund invests in Hyundai, a South Korea firm. Data from the Superfund Equities list:
“ South Korea , Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co Ltd $ 631, 136”
Here is one example of New Zealand, via NZ Superfund, looking the other way, instead of divesting from a corporation profiting from the Israeli regime’s inhumanity.
There are many other examples of NZ Superfund investments that should be questioned for ethical reasons. In fact, there is a website whoprofits.org , established by the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, which exposes corporations that profit from the occupation.
A good start would be to demand that the fund divest from Hyundai, in the name of humanity.
New Zealand could provide the moral leadership so desperately needed. Think of the families, the children.
We’re all in this together.
Lois Griffiths is a human rights activist.