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Netanyahu to build 840 settlement units in response to Ariel attack

March 18, 2019 4:35 P.M. (Updated: March 20, 2019 12:27 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, during his visit to the site of the Salfit shooting attack in the northern occupied West Bank on Monday, that Israeli forces are "in a close pursuit" after the suspect as they know his identity.

According to Israeli news outlets, Netanyahu said that the construction of some 840 new settlement units would begin in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel the following day, in response to the attack that left two Israelis killed.

The construction of the 840 new settlement units has already been approved.

Israeli news outlets added that the Israeli army had surveyed the house of the attack suspect, who was identified as Omar Abu Leila, 19, from Salfit City, for future demolition.

Israel always demolishes family homes of Palestinians, who were involved in attacking Israelis as part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people.

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.

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says that "The people who bear the brunt of the (punitive) demolitions are relatives – including women, the elderly, and children – whom Israel does not suspect of involvement in any offense."

"In the vast majority of cases, the person whose actions prompted the demolition was not even living in the house at the time of the demolition," adds the group.

"The official objective of the house demolition policy is deterrence … yet the deterrent effect of house demolitions has never been proven."

It concluded that "Since this constitutes deliberate harm to innocents, it is clear that even if house demolition had the desired deterrent effect, it would, nevertheless, remain unlawful."

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