Israel to Punitively Demolish Home of Suspected Palestinian Assailants

HEBRON, January 20, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli army Wednesday notified to demolish a house and took measurements of another belonging to the families of two Palestinians suspected of carrying out stabbing attacks against Israeli settlers, according to local sources.

Israeli soldiers broke into the village of Beit Amra near the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, and raided the house of Badr Id’es, the father of Morad Id’es, whom Israel claims was behind the stabbing and killing of an Israeli settler outside the illegal Otniel settlement last Friday.

Army officers reportedly interrogated family members and ordered them to leave, as a prelude to demolish the house as a collective punishment for the settler’s killing. Army did not inform the family about the actual demolition date.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops broke into the village of Hendaza, east of Bethlehem, and raided the house of Mohammad Kamel Sha’lan, whom the occupation authorities claim was behind the stabbing and injury of an Israeli settler in Takou settlement, nearby, three days ago. Soldiers took measurements of the house, in an apparent prelude to demolish it as a collective punishment against the family of Sha’lan.

Following the said incidents, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that he ‘would not hesitate to bar the entrance of Palestinians to Israeli settlements’, as part of what he described as ‘Israel’s fight against the recent wave of terrorism,’ according to the Israeli daily, Haartez.

Speaking during a Knesset plenary session, the Israeli PM said that the “government is taking unprecedented measures against terrorism.”

Haartez reported that, “Thousands of Palestinian laborers were banned on Tuesday from entering Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The order, issued by the IDF commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, did not apply to industrial parks in the West Bank.”

Israel recently resumed the policy of punitive demolitions of the homes of any Palestinians – 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 slammed by human rights organizations as “collective punishment” and “a war crime and a crime against humanity”.

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.”