Punitive Home Demolitions Are Rampant
Since the occupation began on June 5th 1967, Israeli security forces have forcibly razed hundreds of homes to punish the relatives of Palestinians who allegedly harm Israelis. This policy is brute and criminal and has rendered homeless thousands of innocent people who were not themselves accused of any wrongdoing.
A policy of punitive home demolitions is fundamentally flawed irrespective of its assumed effectiveness. It contravenes basic moral standards by punishing people, politicians and parties for the misdeeds of others. It is collective punishment that is both unlawful and reprehensible, for a self-acclaimed nation that prides itself on its relationship with the Western world.
Israel’s policy of home demolitions – some 48,000 Palestinian homes razed to the ground since the start of the Occupation – represents the cynical distortion of the law for political ends, contravening the Fourth Geneva Convention and other relevant international treaties. The policy of punitive demolitions in fact grew out of the British Emergency Regulations of 1945, at the time criticised as “Nazi” regulations and regarded as tyrannical and unethical.
Ironically, the Israeli army itself has concluded that far from constituting effective deterrence, the policy of punitive demolitions actually inflames an already combustible environment; it violates the basic principle of due process of law and fundamental human rights. By disconnecting law from justice, with aggravated impunity, the system under Israeli control has now become an instrument of oppression and repression. This is what the return to punitive demolitions portends.
Nasir Aslam, Lancashire, England
Photo Credit: By B’Tselem field-researcher ‘Atef Abu a-Rub and B’Tselem camera volunteer Yusef Bani ‘Odeh (from neighboring village of Jiftlik) via Wikimedia Commons.
B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
ICAHD, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Collective Punishment & Ethnic Cleansing: Israel’s Destruction of Palestinian Homes:
Five major EU states to Israel: Demolishing homes will escalate tensions: