|On 25 January 2021, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), compromising of eleven Palestinian human rights organizations, submitted a joint urgent appeal to the United Nations (UN) Special Procedures on Israel’s continued demolitions amidst a global pandemic. Addressing five UN Special Rapporteurs, including the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, the organizations highlighted Israel’s continued utilization of Military Order 1797 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, adequate housing is considered to be “the front line in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, as demonstrated by stay-at-home and lockdown orders,” as highlighted by Mr. Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, human rights organizations have noticed a significant increase in demolitions carried out under the auspices of Military Order 1797, which allows the demolition of unlicensed structures in Area C deemed as “new” within 96 hours after the issuance of a removal notice, if the Palestinian owners of the structures do not appeal a demolition order, with an approved master building plan and building permit within the provided 96 hours. Consequently, Military Order 1797, in requiring such a quick turnaround time, strips Palestinians of their right to due process, in violation of international law.
While human rights organizations have previously condemned Military Order 1797 for its violation of international law, and warned about its aftermath on the Palestinian protected population, the joint urgent appeal stressed that this issue is of an even more pressing concern during the period of closure, since residents cannot obtain the documents necessary to legally challenge the demolition orders and to file appeals or objections.
In their joint urgent appeal, PHROC and its member organizations requested the immediate intervention of the UN Special Procedures to uphold the rights of the Palestinian protected population during COVID-19, including their fundamental rights to self-determination, health, and adequate standard of living, including adequate housing, and, in particular, to:
 OHCHR, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context,” UN Doc A/75/148, 27 July 2020.
 Al-Haq, “Al-Haq Calls on the EU to Support the Proposal for a Wide Ban of Trade with and Support for Illegal Settlements,” 28 December 2020, available at: https://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/17724.html.