As Israel’s usual brutally violent policies go, this one has been tried before and discontinued, while its other vicious brutality goes on unabated and unchecked (and unpunished). It has decided to begin (again) the policy of demolishing the houses of those who are suspected of terroristic activity – not charged, not convicted – just suspected. If all of the homes of ‘suspected terrorists’ houses were plotted on a map, one would most likely find that they just happen to be located on territory that Israel covets… desperately covets… that has resources that Israel covets.
On 23 June, Jerusalem Post reported
Israel is to renew its controversial policy – discontinued in 2005 – of destroying the homes of terrorists as a deterrent measure, as
Jerusalemcontinues ratcheting up steps it hopes will place pressure on Hamas and lead to the return of the three kidnapped teens, Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah.
The sources said that the government intends to increasingly ask the courts to allow the punitive house demolitions, which they said have proven to be successful in the past.
According to B’Tselem, Israel demolished some 666 houses as punishment for terrorist attacks during the years of the second intifada, from 2001 until the practice was discontinued in February 2005.
In February 2005, the Defense Ministry – basing itself on a committee led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Udi Shani, and also included Hebrew University Law School dean Yuval Shany and Eli Amir – said it was not having an effective deterrent effect and was instead stirring up more hatred. The commission also said the demolitions were “borderline” from an international law perspective. Israel was routinely slammed by the international community for the practice.
A statement by the ministry at the time said, however, that the policy would be reinstated if “there were an extreme change in circumstances.”
One government official explained the decision to renew the practice by saying Israel “hopes to level the playing field” and provide economic deterrents to counteract the economic inducements the PA has put into place for those carrying out terrorist acts.
Israel’s collective punishment for suspects – affecting sometimes multiple generations of a family living in one house – is not ‘borderline’ contrary to international law, it is flatly and unequivocally contrary (against) international law, specifically human rights law