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Israeli minister calls for punitive demolition of Jerusalem attackers' homes

July 16, 2017 11:25 P.M. (Updated: July 17, 2017 1:44 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- As an Israeli minister called for the demolition of the homes of three Palestinian citizens of Israel who were killed on Friday while carrying out a deadly attack in occupied East Jerusalem, rights group Adalah called for an investigation into the police’s killing of the alleged assailants.

According to Israeli news outlet Ynet, Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan called on Sunday for the Israeli government to consider demolishing the homes of Muhammad Hamid Abd al-Latif Jabarin, 19, Muhammad Ahmad Mufdal Jabarin, 19, and Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad Jabarin, 29, the three men who shot and killed two Israeli police officers in Jerusalem’s Old City, before being shot and killed by Israeli forces in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The Jabarins are all residents of the Palestinian-majority town of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel. The two slain police officers, Hail Stawi and Kamil Shinan, were also Palestinian citizens of Israel from the Druze minority community, which is subjected to mandatory military services, unlike Muslim citizens of Israel.

"The decision on whether to demolish has to do with the question of whether this phenomenon plays a central part in that sector," Erdan told Ynet -- using the Israeli term “sector” to refer to the Palestinian community inside Israel, which represents at least 20 percent of the population.

"If we see more support for these (Palestinian citizen of Israel) terrorists, and the chances others follow their example increase, we'll have to consider the demolition of their homes too," he added.

Erdan quoted an Israeli Supreme Court ruling against punitive home demolitions for “Jewish terrorists,” claiming that acts of violence committed by Jewish Israelis against Palestinians did not incite further violence against Palestinians.

Earlier this month, the Israeli Supreme Court decided not to demolish the homes of three Israelis convicted of brutally killing 16-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Abu Khdeir in 2014.

Israel has come under harsh condemnation over the past several years for its response to attacks committed by Palestinians on Israelis -- including punitive home demolitions affecting the relatives of slain Palestinians -- which rights groups have said amounted to “collective punishment” and represents a clear violation of international law.

Israeli authorities have claimed that punitive home demolitions act as a deterrent against future attacks, despite an Israeli military committee stating said the practice is not only ineffective at preventing attacks, but increases hostility towards Israel.

Meanwhile, Adalah called on Sunday for an investigation into the Jabarins’ deaths, after footage was released showing Israeli forces firing heavily on Muhammad Ahmad Mufdal Jabarin inside the Al-Aqsa compound.

According to Adalah, the video “appears to indicate that, when Israeli police officers opened fire on (Jabarin), he posed no serious immediate danger that would have justified the use of intensive and fatal gunfire.”

"The incident raises serious questions regarding police personnel's compliance with very detailed open-fire regulations,” Adalah lawyer Muhammad Bassam wrote to the Israeli Ministry of Justice. “In all situations, use of firearms is permitted only when there is a real and immediate danger to human life and as a final option when all other options to prevent this harm have been exhausted."

Activists, and rights groups have regularly denounced what they have termed Israeli forces’ "shoot-to-kill" policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death, or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner -- amid a backdrop of impunity for Israelis who committed the killings.

According to rights group Yesh Din, of 186 criminal investigations into suspected offenses against Palestinians opened by the Israeli army in 2015, just four resulted in indictments.
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