UN Calls for End of Israel’s Punitive Home Demolition Policy

New York, November 17, 2015 (WAFA) – The United Nations’ Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the occupied Palestinian Territory, Robert Riper, contended that Israel’s punitive home demolition policy taken against Palestinians suspected of carrying attacks against Israelis violates  international law, calling for its cessation.

“I am distressed by reports of punitive demolitions carried out by Israeli security forces of five homes in the Jerusalem, Nablus, and Ramallah governorates in the last few days,” said UN Riper.

“We recognize Israel’s serious security challenges today, but any law enforcement response must be consistent with international law,” maintaining that, “Punitive demolitions are inherently unjust, punishing innocent people for the acts of others.”

“Punitive demolitions are a form of collective penalty as they effectively punish not only the alleged perpetrators but also people (relatives, neighbors) for acts they have not individually committed,”  stressed the statement.

The statement explained that, “In operations to “deter others”, the family homes of five alleged perpetrators of attacks against Israelis in 2015 have been demolished by Israeli security forces since 14 November.”

At least nine additional adjacent apartments have been damaged and rendered unsafe, added the statement.

The statement citied the most recent punitive home demolition, which took place on Friday in Qalandiya refugee camp, where two Palestinians were killed, and nine others were injured, in clashes to protest against the demolition.

It noted that initial assessments indicate that 20 people, including eight children, were rendered homeless by the demolition of the five homes.

The policy of such punitive demolitions was suspended by the Government of Israel in 2005 after an Israeli military committee deemed it ineffective as a deterrent.

Such actions have restarted since mid-2014, with the exception of one case in 2009.