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Israel punitively seals Jabal al-Mukabbir home with concrete, displacing 5 Palestinians

March 22, 2017 11:14 A.M. (Updated: March 22, 2017 7:41 P.M.)
Fadi al-Qunbar's parents and two of his children
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces punitively sealed a Palestinian home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir on Wednesday morning by pouring concrete inside the house, displacing five Palestinians -- including four children -- as a result.

The house belonged to the family of Fadi al-Qunbar, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in January after he drove a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers, killing four.

Israeli special forces, police, and intelligence officers were heavily deployed in the neighborhood, having closed off the main streets and preventing vehicles and pedestrians from entering or leaving the area.

Witnesses saw Israeli forces raid the al-Qunbar house, deploy on its roof, and seal it with concrete.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said in a written statement that “Police and border police units will respond to any incidents during the operation.”

Five Palestinians had been living in the house, al-Qunbar’s wife and four children -- the eldest of which is seven years old while the youngest is nine months old.

After the deadly incident on Jan. 8, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favor of punitively demolishing al-Qunbar's house, despite the fact that his family repeatedly denied having advanced knowledge of any plans to carry out an attack.

Israeli forces have repeatedly raided the home in recent weeks threatening to demolish it, most recently last week when cement mixers were brought in, though forces later retreated from the area after apparently having difficulty accessing the home, according to witnesses.

Israeli authorities have also continued to hold al-Qunbar's remains, as part of Israel’s policy of withholding the bodies of alleged and actual attackers, which has been denounced by rights groups as collective punishment and a violation of international law.

Al-Qunbar's relatives and the wider community of Jabal al-Mukabbir have been subjected to a number of other collective punishment measures over the past two months, which critics called a “policy of reprisal" being waged in the neighborhood.

A number of al-Qunbar’s relatives and other locals have been detained in police raids, and the Israeli Minister of Interior decided to revoke the Jerusalem residency status of 13 members al-Qunbar’s family -- including his mother.

Demolition notices were delivered to some 81 houses in Jabal al-Mukabbir under the pretext that they were built without permits, while Israeli forces also closed main roads in the area for alleged security purposes, disrupting of the movement of people and public transport.

In the wake of the attack, Israeli leaders also called for the family to be expelled to the besieged Gaza Strip or exiled to war-torn Syria.

Israeli forces recently stepped up measures against Jabal al-Mukabbir once again, after an Israeli border police shot and killed a resident of the neighborhood last week, claiming he carried out a stabbing attack near the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City. However, witnesses and family members said 25-year-old Ibrahim Matar "was executed in cold blood."
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