Israel Resumes Punitive Home Demolitions of Suspected Palestinian Attackers

HEBRON, October 20, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli army at predawn Tuesday destroyed the family apartment of Maher Hashlamoun, a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a stabbing attack that killed an Israeli last year, as well as notified to demolish the house of another Palestinian suspect in Nablus, according to local sources.

In Hebron, WAFA correspondent said that an Israeli army force stormed an apartment building in al-Zaytoun district in the city and raided the family apartment of Hashlamoun, who is currently incarcerated in Israeli jails.

The forces locked the family in one of the apartments and threatened to shoot them if they attempted to leave or open the windows, before they proceeded to destroy Hashlamoun’s apartment, using light equipment, rather than demolishing it entirely since it is part of a building.

Israel accuses Hashlamoun of carrying out a stabbing attack near Etzion settlement in the West Bank on 10 November 2014. The attack reportedly left one settler killed and two others injured.

Hashlamoun is now serving two life sentences in jail and was ruled to pay a fine of 3 million shekels (about $777,000).

Meanwhile in Nablus, Israeli forces handed the family of Raghib Elewi, a Palestinian whom Israel accuses of being involved in the shooting of an Israeli settler couple near the Nablus village of Beit Furik earlier this month, a notice ordering them to leave the house within 48 hours in order to demolish it.

Soldiers also raided a supermarket belonging to Elewi’s family, where they seized a computer and surveillance cameras and detained Elewi’s brother, Ramez.

Forces also stormed, ransacked and took photos for the house of Ammar al-Qawasmi, a teenager who was shot dead by an Israeli settler in Ash-Shuhada Street in Hebron’s Old City on Saturday, in an apparent prelude to demolish it.

The settlers alleged that al-Qawasmi attempted to stab him, although the settler was not injured.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, says: “The people who bear the brunt of the [punitive] demolitions are relatives – including women, the elderly, and children – whom Israel does not suspect of involvement in any offense.”

“In the vast majority of cases, the person whose actions prompted the demolition was not even living in the house at the time of the demolition,” adds the group.

“The official objective of the house demolition policy is deterrence … yet the deterrent effect of house demolitions has never been proven.”

It said that, “Since this constitutes deliberate harm to innocents, it is clear that even if house demolition had the desired deterrent effect, it would, nevertheless, remain unlawful.”

Amnesty International, argued that, the Israeli authorities’ claim that such demolitions are effective in dissuading potential attackers “is entirely irrelevant in the eyes of International humanitarian law, which places clear limits on the actions which an occupying power may take in the name of security, and the absolute prohibition on collective punishment is one of the most important of these rules.”

“Collective punishment is never permissible under any circumstances.”