Critics decry Israeli policy demolishing homes of perpetrators’ relatives

World Today

Critics say the Israeli government’s policy of punishing relatives of Palestinian perpetrators of violence is immoral, ineffective, and illegal.

The Israeli government insists that the policy of collective punishment deters terror attacks, but the move is provoking anger. CCTV America’s Stephanie Freid reported this story from East Jerusalem.

Critics decry Israeli policy demolishing homes of perpetrators’ relatives

The Israeli government insists that the policy of collective punishment deters terror attacks, but the move is provoking anger. CCTV America's Stephanie Freid reported this story from East Jerusalem.

A week ago, seven members of the al-Shaludi family shared an East Jerusalem apartment, the youngest only six years old.

In the middle of the night, Israel special forces entered and destroyed the dwelling. Their crime, according to Israel, was guilt by association. In October, their relative, Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, plowed his car into a group of Israeli pedestrians in Jerusalem killing two, including a three-month-old child. Shaludi, accused of terrorism by Israel, was shot dead at the scene.

“All the people here are angry about the [demolition] of the house. They are angry. It will not stop them,” said Abdel’s mother, Innes.

A similar fate awaits at least four other families of Palestinian perpetrators. The government policy of house demolition has been in place for decades on an on-and-off basis. In 2005, it was halted after a commission of inquiry discovered that it does not actually deter violence. However it was reinstated a few months ago.

International human rights organizations have said the policy is unlawful and that collective punishment, when leveraged against a population living under occupation, amounts to a war crime.

“It’s impossible to prove that it’s efficient, effective in stopping, thwarting, these attacks,” said Sarit Michaeli, a spokesperson for the B’Tselem Human Rights organization. “There are indications that it actually increases hatred and animosity and revenge attacks and it’s going to contribute to the plummeting of Israel’s international standing.”