A protester holds a Palestinian flag in front of an IDF bulldozer in the West Bank [File].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Human Rights Watch on Saturday blasted Israel's policy of demolishing the homes of suspected Palestinian terrorists as "collective punishment" and a "war crime" and called for its immediate end.
The organization called for an immediate moratorium on home demolitions, saying the action leaves the families of suspected terrorists in Palestinian territories homeless, and "unlawfully punishes people not accused of any wrongdoing."
“Punitive home demolitions are blatantly unlawful,” said HRW deputy Middle East and North Africa director Joe Stork. “Israel should prosecute, convict, and punish criminals, not carry out vengeful destruction that harms entire families."
Most recently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the demolition of the homes of the two terrorists who carried out Tuesday's deadly attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem, in which two Palestinians from east Jerusalem murdered five people.
Over the summer Israel renewed its controversial policy
- discontinued in 2005 - of destroying the homes of terrorists as a deterrent measure, in light of the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, who were later found murdered in the West Bank.
According to Israeli NGO B’Tselem, Israel demolished some 666 houses as punishment for terrorist attacks during the years of the second intifada, from 2001 until the practice was discontinued in February 2005.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
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