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PFLP calls for resistance campaign to rebuild punitively demolished Palestinian homes

Aug. 20, 2017 5:07 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 20, 2017 8:39 P.M.)
PFLP graffiti that reads: 'The struggler, Omar al-Abed' and 'All of the houses are your house Omar' (Source: PFLP official website)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The leftist Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) faction the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian (PFLP) has called for a broad campaign to rebuild homes that have been punitively demolished by Israel.

Israel has come under harsh condemnation over the past several years for its response to attacks committed by Palestinians on Israelis, which rights groups have said amounted to “collective punishment” on family members and entire communities in a clear violation of international law.

While Israeli authorities have argued that punitive home demolitions serve as a deterrent against further attacks, Palestinians have argued that the widespread use of such a policy only against Palestinians, and not against Israelis who have committed attacks against Palestinians, has only fueled more anger against the decades-long Israeli occupation.

The PFLP on Sunday urged that Palestinians assist in rebuilding a home in the central occupied West Bank village of Kobar belonging to a Palestinian family, which was demolished by Israel as punishment for a deadly attack carried out by a 19-year-old member of the family.

Omar al-Abed was shot and detained last month after he broke into a home in the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish and stabbed and killed three Israelis.

Last Wednesday, Israeli forces punitively demolished his home, despite it being still inhabited by his parents and siblings. However, Israeli forces have also since detained Omar’s mother, father, and two of his brothers. Israeli authorities have extended the remand of at least the mother and one of the brothers, accusing them of having advanced knowledge of the attack.

During the predawn demolition raid into Kobar on Wednesday, Israeli forces completely destroyed the second floor of their home and partially destroyed the first floor, as violent clashes broke out in the village, resulting in the injury of 12 Palestinians, including a journalist who was attempting to cover the events.

Israeli soldiers posted leaflets in the streets of Kobar threatening residents with similar punishment should they attempt to carry out attacks against Israelis.

In the weeks since the settlement attack, Kobar has also been subjected to ongoing raids and military blockades impeding the freedom of movement for residents.

The PFLP in the statement on Sunday called on Palestinians to launch a campaign to help rebuild the home and keep Kobar’s streets open.

The leftist faction said that on Thursday, masked PFLP members arrived to the ruins of the al-Abed home and adorned it with Palestinian flags and painted its remaining walls and other walls throughout the village the message: “al-Fidai Omar al-Abed” (The struggler, Omar al-Abed).

An image of Omar was also painted at the main entrance to the village “to send a message to the occupation that the people embrace the resistance and their families,” the PFLP said.
(Source: PFLP)

“In the past few weeks, there has been a mass popular stand in the village of Kobar against the occupation forces,” the political party wrote, explaining that confrontations with Israeli forces have included opening roads closed by the army and blocking off others to stave off military raids, with scores of Palestinians being detained and injured by Israeli soldiers in the process.

Palestinians in Kobar as well as villagers in neighboring Um Safa have also been subjected to violent reprisal attacks by Israeli settlers since the three Halamish settlers were killed.

Separately, the PFLP said Sunday that its members had also launched a campaign to reopen a bookstore in al-Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem after it had been forcibly shut down by Israeli forces during a violent raid in which one local was shot and injured.

“The occupation forces closed a number of stores, including a bookstore, inside the camp, claiming they sold fireworks which were then launched by the youth against the daily invasions of occupation soldiers,” the PFLP said.

“Young people opened the bookstore and removed the closure, posting a paper saying that ‘This store has been opened by a decision of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.’”
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