Saturday, November 22, 2014

Collective Punishment

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


More Information:

Collective Punishment & Ethnic Cleansing: Israel’s Destruction of Palestinian Homes:

Five major EU states to Israel: Demolishing homes will escalate tensions:


Take Action! Boycott Hyundai and Caterpillar for profiting from home demolition!


Boycott for Peace! 

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  1. Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses = ‘war crimes’ - See more at:

  2. "Israel’s policy of destroying the homes of Palestinians suspected of attacks against Israelis is a form of collective punishment, which is illegal under international law, and has been condemned as such by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch."

  3. Jerusalem’s interfaith ‘Peace House’ faced with Israeli demolition order:

    Highlight URL and then right click to visit the web page.

  4. Israel's illegal demolitions of Palestinian homes escalated in 2014:

    Highlight and right click URL to open the article.

  5. Rights groups to Israel's top court ~ Home demolitions are collective punishment:

  6. How long does it take the Israelis to use at CAT to demolish a Palestinian home? About 5 minutes.

    Video linked below was shot by OCHA, this rough cut shows one of two demolitions that took place on 20 January in the Area C village of Ar Rifa’iyya, in the southern West Bank.

    It took the family about three years to complete this house, building it in stages as resources allowed.

    10 Palestinians were left homeless that day in Ar Rifa'iyya, including 6 children.

    Background: Area C, over 60% of the occupied West Bank, remains under the near full control of Israel. A restrictive planning and zoning regime, which makes it very difficult for Palestinians to obtain permission from the Israeli authorities to build, is applied in Area C. As a result, many Palestinians have little option but to build without a permit and risk demolitions such as the one shown here.
    Highlight and right click the link to open the video.