Home Reports and investigations 02/February/2023 05:04 PM

Human Rights Watch: Israel’s demolitions of Palestinians’ homes amount to collective punishment

Human Rights Watch: Israel’s demolitions of Palestinians’ homes amount to collective punishment
Israeli apartheid barrier in the West Bnk (file photo)

JERUSALEM, Thursday, February 2, 2023 (WAFA) – Israeli occupation authorities’ actions to seal the family homes of two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank amount to collective punishment, a war crime, Human Rights Watch said today.

This punitive measure, which Israeli authorities have said they will follow by demolishing the homes, comes amid a spike in Israeli violence that has cost the lives of 35 Palestinians since January 1, 2023. The violence has included Israeli army raids that unlawfully attack Palestinian cities and refugee camps, said HRW in a report. 

“International humanitarian law, including the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibits collective punishment, including deliberately harming the relatives of those accused of committing crimes, in all circumstances”, HRW said.

In January, Israeli forces killed 35 Palestinians, including 8 children, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The January 26 raid in Jenin refugee camp was the single incident that month with the most deaths, added the report, with 10 Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces during the raid.

“Courts around the world have treated collective punishment as a war crime. However, Israel’s Supreme Court has consistently rejected the claim that the Israeli government’s practice of punitive home demolitions in Occupied Palestinian Territory amounts to collective punishment.”

“Various types of collective punishment, such as punitive home demolitions and sweeping movement restrictions against entire areas or communities based on the actions of a few people, are among the policies that Israeli authorities have relied on to systematically oppress Palestinians,” HRW said.

HRW said it “has found that Israeli authorities’ systematic oppression coupled with the inhumane acts they have committed against Palestinians as part of a policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”


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