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Israel to demolish Nablus home belonging to suspected attacker's family

Sept. 27, 2016 10:40 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 29, 2016 1:18 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- The Israeli Supreme Court on Tuesday approved an Israeli military decision to demolish the family home an incarcerated Palestinian suspected of being involved in a drive-by shooting last year that left two Israeli settlers dead.

The family of Palestinian prisoner Amjad Aliwi has previously filed three appeals against the decision, as they stand to be left homeless by the demolition while Aliwi serves a life sentence in Israeli prison.

Salah Aliwi, Amjad’s brother, told Ma’an that the family’s lawyer informed them Tuesday evening that the demolition could happen at any minute, after the court refused to allow the family to present any further appeals.

Aliwi is currently serving a life sentence for his involvement in a Hamas military unit allegedly responsible for the incident, when a married Israeli couple was shot and killed on Oct. 1, 2015 near the illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus.

Their four children, aged between four months and nine years, were found unharmed in the back of the car.

The attack resulted in widespread rioting by Israeli settlers and numerous attacks on Palestinian communities and their properties.

A massive manhunt for the gunmen -- during which the freedom of movement for Nablus residents was severely restricted and scores of Palestinians were detained as well as shot and injured in overnight raids -- culminated in five suspects being detained by Israel’s internal security agency the Shin Bet, identified as Raeb Ahmed Aliwi, Yahya al-Hajj Hamad, Samir Qoussa, Karam al-Masri, and Zeid Amir.

The Shin Bet said that the five Palestinians had "admitted" to the crime, as well to two other shootings that had not resulted in casualties.

Salah Aliwi’s home was also raided and ransacked during the same raid, when Israeli forces ordered his family to tell Aliwi to turn himself in.

In July, an Israeli court sentenced Aliwi, Hamad, al-Masri, and Qoussa each to two life sentences and an additional 30 years in prison.

Israeli forces have also since destroyed the home Zeid Amir’s family.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fast-tracked punitive home demolitions in an effort to “deter” attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals in the wake of a wave of violence that has swept across the West Bank since October.

The move came despite past recommendations by an Israeli military committee that the practice did not deter attacks. Israeli rights group B’Tselem has condemned the practice as "court-sanctioned revenge" carried out on family members who have not committed crimes, amounting to collective punishment.

While families who receive demolition orders are given the opportunity to appeal the measures, Israel’s High Court of Justice typically rejects such appeals, according to Israeli watchdog Hamoked.
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