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Israel orders punitive demolition of four Palestinian homes in West Bank

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Palestinian child cries as Palestinians salvage items from their home after it was demolished by Israeli bulldozers in the area of Musafir Jenbah, south of the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), on February 2, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli authorities have issued punitive demolition orders for the homes of four Palestinian families over allegations that their relatives were involved in attacks on Israeli forces as the regime's forces kidnapped 30 Palestinians in West Bank raids. 

On Tuesday morning, Israeli forces raided Deir Abu Mashaal village in Ramallah, storming three homes belonging to the families of young men who were shot dead during an attack in East Jerusalem al-Quds last month.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 22 people from the three families will be left homeless by the punitive demolitions.

Israeli forces also raided the town of Silwad in the Ramallah district and delivered a demolition order to the family of Malik Ahmad Hamid, who was shot, injured and detained following an attack near the illegal Israeli settlement in April.

The four Palestinian families were given just two days until the afternoon of July 6 to appeal the orders.

In many cases, the Palestinians are forced to demolish their own homes in an attempt to avoid paying hefty demolition costs to Israeli municipal authorities or paying heavy fines and legal costs which normally end in no useful result but destruction of the homes anyway.   

This is while Israel continues construction of its illegal settlements across the West Bank, despite the latest UN Security Council resolution against the measure.  

Rights groups have warned that residents of Deir Abu Mashaal and Silwad have recently faced an escalating wave of “collective punishment” and restrictive measures on a routine basis, including mid-night home raids, arbitrary arrests and installation of roadblocks.

“This automatic form of retaliation has become a matter of policy for the military, in a cynical abuse of its power to mistreat civilians,” Israeli NGO B’Tselem said last week.

The Israeli work permits of the family members of the alleged assailants have been revoked and family visitation permits of nearly 250,000 Palestinians to enter Jerusalem have been cancelled, B’Tselem said.

Israeli authorities also refuse to return the bodies of the slain Palestinians to their families, alleging that funeral ceremonies of the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces incite violence against the regime.

B’Tselem slammed Israel for disrupting the lives of more than 10,000 innocent people in Silwad over no specific charges, noting, “This disruption of daily life is morally and legally indefensible, and is entirely based on a policy of violence that cynically exploits the military’s authority in order to abuse and intimidate a civilian population.”

Palestinian protesters throw clash with Israeli security forces during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on May 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the ongoing tensions since the beginning of October 2015.

The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.

Over 30 Palestinians detained

Between Monday night and Tuesday morning, Israeli forces detained at least 30 Palestinians in overnight raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Family members of the detainees said they believed their relatives were arrested for participating in the funeral for 24-year-old Ali Abu Gharbiyeh on Sunday, which turned into clashes with Israeli forces and left at least 35 mourners wounded.

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The Israeli police officials could not be immediately reached for comment on the issue.

Israeli forces raid Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds on a constant basis. UN documentation shows that Israeli forces carried out a weekly average of 95 search and detention raids in 2016.

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