JENIN, March 28, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli forces on Monday made preparations for the punitive demolition of the family houses of three Palestinians suspected of carrying out a fatal attack outside Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City in early February, families said.
Israeli forces stormed and took measurements of the family houses of Ahmad Zakarneh, Muhammad Kamil and Najeh Abu al-Rub during a predawn raid into the Jenin town of Qabatiyaæ as a prelude for punitive demolition.
Zakarneh, Kamil and Abu al-Rub were shot dead by Israeli police on February 4 after they reportedly killed a police officer and injured another in a gun and knife assault outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.
Families of the three men said that forces stormed and took measurements and photos for their houses.
The families added that they were notified that their petition to an Israeli court against the planned demolitions was rejected, and they were allowed seven days in preparation for demolitions.
Forces also stormed and took measurements for the family house of Bilal Abu Zeid, who was detained by Israeli troops two months ago, after being accused of involvement in a shooting which claimed the life of an Israeli soldier and injured another outside the Damascus Gate.
Soldiers reportedly searched the property and interrogated family members.
Violent clashes were reported between Israeli forces and local youths, during which the forces fired tear gas canisters and live ammunition, causing several cases of suffocation due to the excessive tear gas inhalation.
Israel resorts to punitively demolish the family 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 condemned 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.”
Amnesty International, argued that, 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 s 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.”