Israel demolishes four Palestinian homes in West Bank
Israeli forces have demolished four West Bank homes belonging to the families of the Palestinians allegedly involved in attacks on Israeli forces.
In pre-dawn attacks on Thursday, Israeli forces demolished three homes in the villages of Deir Abu Mashaal and one home in Silwad in the Ramallah district, Ma’an reported.
The three families in Deir Abu Mashaal had received demolition orders last month after their youths allegedly carried out a deadly attack near Damascus Gate in the Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds, which left an Israeli police officer dead.
Israeli forces shot dead the three Palestinians at the scene.
According to local residents, some 50 Israeli military vehicles raided the village, alongside Israeli bulldozers, while Israeli drones were flying above the village.
The punitive demolition attack in Deir Abu Mashaal left a total of 22 people homeless, despite the fact that they had not been charged with any wrongdoing, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said.
Israeli forces had imposed a curfew in the village, barring residents from exiting their homes during the demolition in an attempt to avoid clashes.
However, head of the village council Imad Zahran said that villagers had gathered at the main streets of the village and near the homes in an attempt to prevent the demolitions.
Following the demolitions, clashes erupted in the village, leaving three youths injured. Local resident say Israeli forces fired live ammunition at the protesters.
Israeli forces also demolished the home of Malik Hamid in Silwad village. Hamid allegedly killed an Israeli soldier and injured another in a vehicular ramming attack near Israel’s Ofra settlement in April.
Following the attacks, Israeli forces detained several family members of the alleged assailants and revoked their Israeli work permits.
Rights groups have warned that residents of Deir Abu Mashaal and Silwad have recently faced an escalating wave of “collective punishment” and restrictive measures on a routine basis, including mid-night home raids, arbitrary arrests and installation of roadblocks.
Israeli forces raid Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds on a constant basis. UN documentation shows that Israeli forces carried out a weekly average of 95 search and detention raids in 2016.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has backed the punitive home demolitions since tensions escalated across the occupied Palestinian territory in late 2015.
In many cases, the Palestinians are forced to demolish their own homes in an attempt to avoid paying hefty demolition costs to Israeli municipal authorities or paying heavy fines and legal costs, which normally end in no useful result but the destruction of the homes anyway.
The Israeli work permits of the family members of the alleged assailants have been revoked and family visitation permits of nearly 250,000 Palestinians to enter Jerusalem have been cancelled, B’Tselem said.
Israeli authorities also refuse to return the bodies of the slain Palestinians to their families, alleging that funeral ceremonies of the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces incite violence against the regime.
This is while Israel continues construction of its illegal settlements across the West Bank, despite the latest UN Security Council resolution against the measure.
The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.(Agencies)