Netanyahu delivers on threats of collective punishment

The destroyed home belonging to the family of Ashraf Naalwa in Shweika, near Tulkarm, on 17 December.

Shadi Jarar’ah APA images

Israel has delivered on threats of potential war crimes made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following shootings of settlers and soldiers by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Occupation forces destroyed homes belonging to the families of two Palestinians alleged to have attacked Israelis, and delivered demolition notices to a third.

Since late 2015 Israel has accelerated the demolitions of the family residences of Palestinians alleged to have attacked Israelis, a form of collective punishment Israel never applies to Jewish perpetrators.

Such collective punishment measures violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international laws.

On Monday, Israeli bulldozers destroyed a home belonging to the family of Ashraf Naalwa in Shweika village near the West Bank city of Tulkarm:

Naalwa, 23, was killed by Israeli forces last week, bringing an end to a two-month manhunt that followed the shooting deaths of two Israelis in a West Bank settlement industrial plant.

Palestinians had gathered around the home late Sunday in an attempt to prevent its demolition.

Six Palestinians were injured during confrontations with soldiers during the pre-dawn raid.

Refugee camp home blown up

Two days earlier, soldiers detonated a home belonging to the Abu Humaid family in al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, whose security forces cooperate with Israel.

Islam Abu Humaid, currently held by Israel, is accused of dropping a marble slab from a rooftop during a raid, fatally injuring a soldier, earlier this year.

Hundreds of Israeli soldiers raided Ramallah late Friday ahead of the demolition. Activists and family members who had tried to prevent the demolition were forcibly removed from the home.

Occupation soldiers evacuated residents of neighboring homes to a nearby sports field, and the Palestine Red Crescent Society transferred displaced women and children to its offices nearby.

Dozens of Palestinians were injured during confrontations with soldiers during the demolition raid.

“Israeli forces detained more than 100 protesters, assaulted journalists and suppressed them using tear gas bombs, injuring three of them,” the Ma’an News Agency reported.

Video shows the demolition of the multi-story building:

This was the third time that Israel has destroyed a home belonging to the Abu Humaid family.

Besides Islam, four members of the family are imprisoned by Israel, serving multiple life sentences for their roles in planning and helping carry out suicide bombings and other armed operations, and a fifth brother is being held without charge or trial under administrative detention orders.

One of Islam’s brothers, Abd al-Munim, was assassinated by Israeli forces in 1994 after allegedly killing an intelligence officer in an ambush in Ramallah.

The brothers’ 72-year-old mother, Latifa Abu Humaid, was among those displaced by the demolition.

Demolition notice

On Sunday, Israeli forces delivered home demolition notices to the family of Khalil Jabarin, a 16-year-old currently imprisoned by Israel for stabbing and killing an American-born settler in September. Jabarin was shot and injured during the attack.

Jabarin’s parents had attempted to stop their son from carrying out the attack by informing Palestinian Authority security forces of their son’s plans as well as warning Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint.

The Jabarin family lives in the southern West Bank village of Yatta, where Israeli forces previously destroyed homes belonging to relatives of two cousins from Yatta who killed four Israelis in a shooting attack in Tel Aviv in June 2016.

United Nations humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick decried escalating violence in the West Bank over the past week.

“I condemn the attacks on Israeli and Palestinian civilians perpetrated over the last seven days, which have led to the tragic deaths of a newborn Israeli child and an 18-year-old Palestinian youth in Jalazone refugee camp, among others,” McGoldrick stated on Sunday.

“Further violence and reckless action, which will only result in more tragedy and loss for families on both sides, must be stopped.”

Israel has identified Salah Barghouti, killed by occupation forces last week, as the shooter in the drive-by attack in the West Bank in which a woman in her seventh month of pregnancy was critically injured. Her baby died four days after being prematurely born following the injury of his mother. Six additional Israelis were injured in the incident.

Israel’s domestic spy agency reportedly believes that a single Hamas cell is responsible for that shooting and another in the West Bank last week in which two soldiers were killed.

The assailants of the latter attack fled with one of the slain soldiers’ rifles, which was recovered by the military on Sunday along with the Kalashnikov used by the gunman.

Palestinian turns himself in, settler arrested

Meanwhile a 19-year-old Palestinian turned himself in after attacking and seriously injuring an Israeli soldier at a military post in the West Bank last week.

On Sunday Israeli police arrested a resident of a West Bank settlement over the brutal beating of a Palestinian bus driver last week.

Two soldiers were suspended after trying to “forcibly release settlers arrested Saturday overnight for hurling stones towards Palestinian homes in the West Bank,” the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Israeli Border Police had arrested the three settlers during a protest near Ramallah over West Bank attacks.

“Eyewitnesses said the two soldiers tried to make policemen release the suspects,” according to Haaretz. “The policemen pushed at least one of the soldiers to the ground after he became violent, according to one eyewitness.”

Ambulance attacked

In another incident, settlers under the watch of Israeli soldiers threw stones at an ambulance en route to an ill elderly Palestinian woman in Tel Rumeida, an area of Hebron subjected to severe movement restrictions by the military.

Eid Abu Munshar, a paramedic with the Palestine Red Crescent Society that was part of the ambulance crew that was attempting to reach the woman, said that soldiers at the scene “didn’t intervene and didn’t speak to the settlers.”

The back windows of the ambulance were broken in the attack.

A 68-year-old Palestinian woman died from a heart attack in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday evening. Israeli forces reportedly delayed a Palestinian ambulance from reaching the woman for eight minutes.


Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.