Israel could demolish homes of its Palestinian citizens as 'collective punishment'

Israel could demolish homes of its Palestinian citizens as 'collective punishment'
The Israeli government is reportedly considering demolishing the homes of families of Palestinian citizens of Israel who carry out attacks.
3 min read
17 May, 2022
Israel is considering destroying the homes of Palestinian militants with Israeli citizenship [Getty]

The Israeli government is considering demolishing the family homes of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who commit 'terrorism acts', Israeli media reported on Tuesday.

Among the new measures being considered is deporting the families of Palestinian militants from the occupied West Bank to the besieged Gaza Strip. 

Israel has been razing the homes of Palestinians in the West Bank for years. This new measure could see authorities targeting the homes of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship within the 1948 borders, adding another dimension to the home demolition policy.

"The demolition of houses is problematic on many levels. These regulations are colonial, and fall short of any legal standards that should protect the human rights of individuals," Suhad Bishara, a senior lawyer with the Palestinian NGO Adalah who specializes in land and planning rights told The New Arab. 

The demolition of homes of Israeli citizens adds a new aspect to Israel's longstanding policy of razing the homes of Palestinians, she added. "Additional legal dimensions will need to be discussed, including constitutional rights, the effects on families, [and] collective punishment, which should have great weight when you are legally considering whether to actively use punitive demolitions. This is why I think the attorney general is involved in the process of examining the suggestions [of the Israeli Prime Minister]."

"No state that calls itself democratic should allow itself to have such legal frameworks still valid and functional in its territory." said Bishara.

Israel’s Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar reportedly recommended demolishing the homes and deporting the families of those Palestinians as a method to combat a recent string of attacks in Israel, some of which were carried out by Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. 

Nineteen people have been killed in attacks in Israel since April this year. 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has urged the government to consider these new measures, according to The Jerusalem Post.

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In early April, Bennett gave "full freedom" of operation to security forces following the attacks in Israeli cities, and said that "there are not and will not be limits for this war".

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, who has a history of incitement against Palestinians, reportedly said that his party supports the deportation of Palestinian citizens of Israel and the destruction of their homes. 

Rights groups have repeatedly slammed Israel for showing "appalling disregard for human life" by using "reckless and unlawful lethal force" against Palestinians.

Last week, Israeli soldiers killed veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while she was covering an Israeli raid in Jenin in the West Bank.