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  4. ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: ISRAEL RESUMES PUNITIVE HOUSE DEMOLITIONS

ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY:
ISRAEL RESUMES PUNITIVE HOUSE DEMOLITIONS

Update info:
26 Nov 2014
Country:
ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
Subject:
the families of Ibrahim Akari, Muhammad Ja’abis, Mu’taz Hijazi, ...
Gender: both
Period:
2 Jan 2015
Distribution date:
26 Nov 2014
UA No:
296/2014

The Israeli government has ordered the demolition of the family homes of at least seven Palestinians who carried out attacks which killed Israelis. Israel claim they have to do this to deter future attacks.

The Israeli authorities plan to demolish or seal up the family homes of at least seven Palestinians involved in attacks on civilians and security personnel in East Jerusalem, other parts of the West Bank and Tel Aviv since 4 August. They include the East Jerusalem homes of Ibrahim Akari’s wife and children, in Shu’fat; of Muhammad Ja’abis’s mother and the families of cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, all in Jabal al-Mukabber; of Mu’taz Hijazi’s family, in Abu Tor; as well as the homes of Maher Hashlamon’s wife and children in Hebron; and of Nur al-Din Abu Hashiya’s parents in ‘Askar Refugee Camp in Nablus.

The Akari, Ja’abis, Hijazi and Abu Jamal families received demolition orders between 13 and 20 November and they were given 48 hours to submit an appeal. The High Court of Justice has issued an interim order preventing the demolition of the Ja’abis family home, at least until 24 November, when their petition against the order will be heard. According to Israeli media sources, Home Front Command officials have gone to other families’ homes to take photos and measurements in preparation for demolition.

On 18 November, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the demolition of the homes of Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, who had attacked worshippers at a synagogue in Jerusalem that morning, killing four rabbis and a Druze police officer. The two attackers were shot dead by Israeli security forces at the scene. Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered the demolition of the homes of those involved in the attacks to be speeded up. In the early hours of the next morning, Israeli security forces blew up the third-floor apartment of Abd al-Rahman al-Shaludi, who had driven his car into pedestrians on 22 October killing a woman and a three-month-old baby. Police shot Abd al-Rahman al-Shaludi as he was trying to escape and he died later in hospital. Witnesses said that the police entered the five-storey house of the al-Shaludi family and evicted them without allowing them to bring out their possessions. The al-Shaludi family had received a demolition order on 14 November but did not appeal.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Since June there has been a spate of attacks on Israeli civilians and security personnel by individual Palestinians driving vehicles into groups or attacking people, usually with knives. The number of attacks increased after the conflict in Gaza in July and August 2014 and in response to Israeli reprisals including increasing settlement-building, house demolitions and detentions. In most cases the Palestinian perpetrators of the attack were killed; two were arrested.

Until 2005 Israeli authorities made widespread use of punitive demolition of the houses of people involved in “terror attacks”. This policy was abandoned after a military commission of inquiry found that it was not an effective deterrent and in some cases had the opposite effect. According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, 664 houses of Palestinians were demolished between October 2001 and the end of 2004 as a punishment for carrying out attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers. Before August 2014 the last case of punitive house demolition in East Jerusalem took place in 2009.

The Israel Defense Forces demolished the homes of two men, Hussam Kawasama and Amer Abu Aisha, on 18 August. They were suspected of the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers. The apartment of a third suspect, Marwan Qawasmeh, was sealed up. These homes were demolished after the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected petitions against the army’s decision to demolish them.

The Israeli authorities claim that these demolitions are not intended to punish the families of suicide bombers and others known or suspected to have been involved in attacks, but rather to “deter” potential attackers, who may refrain from getting involved in attacks if they know that their families will be made homeless and will suffer because of their actions.

Amnesty International considers these punitive forced evictions and house demolitions as a flagrant form of collective punishment, a violation of a fundamental principle of international law. 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.

Names: the families of Ibrahim Akari, Muhammad Ja’abis, Mu’taz Hijazi, Ghassan Abu Jamal and Uday Abu Jamal

Gender m/f: both

UA: 296/14 Index: MDE 15/035/2014 Issue Date: 21 November 2014

Take action

Please write immediately in Hebrew, English or your own language:

  • Calling on the authorities to cancel the demolition order on the homes of the Akari, Ja’abis, Hijazi and Abu Jamal families and refrain from issuing any new demolition orders;
  • Calling on them to stop immediately all punitive demolitions and the destruction of houses and other properties without absolute military necessity, as prescribed by international humanitarian law;
  • Calling on them to establish a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the cases of the al-Shaludi family home and the demolitions carried out in August 2014 and ensure the families receive full reparation.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 2 JANUARY 2015 TO:
Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Street, PO Box 187
Kiryat Ben Gurion
Jerusalem 91950, Israel
Fax: +972 2 556 4838
Email: b.netanyahu@pmo.gov.il
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

Head of Central Command
Brigadier General Nitzan Alon
GOC Central Command
Military Post 01149
Battalion 877, Israeli Defence Forces
Israel
Fax: +972 2 530 5741 /24
Salutation: Dear Brigadier General

Attorney-General
Yehuda Weinstein
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah ad-Din Street, P.O. 49029
Jerusalem 91010, Israel
Fax: +972 2 530 3367
Email: lishkat-yoetz@justice.gov.il
Salutation: Dear Mr Weinstein

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.