Israel to Demolish Family House of Palestinian Suspected of Shooting

HEBRON, December 30, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Wednesday handed a notice to demolish the family house of a Palestinian accused of perpetrating a shooting attack in late November in Deir Samet village, southwest of Hebron.

WAFA correspondent said Israeli forces handed an order to demolish the family house of Mohammad ‘Abdul-Baset al-Hroub, who is detained and accused of perpetrating an attack that led to the killing of two Israeli settlers and injuring at least nine others on November 19 in the Gush Etzion area.

Al-Hroub purportedly opened fire at Israeli settlers, killing two and hitting and injuring at least nine others.

The two Israeli casualties were then identified as an 18-year-old American citizen and 49-year-old Yaakov Don.

Israeli media said after the initial bullets were fired, the suspect “continued driving and rammed into another vehicle”, opening fire again before being shot.

An Israeli spokesperson claimed at first that “the perpetrators” were three Palestinians; one of them was killed while “it seems”, she said, one of them was taken into custody after being injured, while the third drove away in his car.

Israeli forces at the time randomly opened fire at Palestinian vehicles, shooting dead a Palestinian identified as Sahdi ‘Arafa, 28, in his car before detaining the other two suspected perpetrators including al-Hroub.

The planned demolition of al-Hroub family house came in line with the Israeli policy of punitive demolition of family houses of Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks on Israeli targets.

Israel resorts to punitively demolish the family homes of any Palestinian – as means of deterrence – accused of being involved in attacks against Israelis, a policy that Israel does not use against Israeli settlers who were involved in fatal attacks against Palestinians.

This policy was widely condemned by human rights organizations as “collective punishment” and “a war crime and a crime against humanity”.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, said “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.”