Israeli court freezes demolitions of Jerusalem attack suspect homes

07:28 Nov 28 2014 Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Supreme Court decided to freeze demolition orders against the homes of two East Jerusalem Palestinians suspected of killing five men in an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue until a verdict on the families' appeals are decided.

The freeze comes as a surprise amid weeks of violence in Jerusalem, where Israeli authorities have insisted on carrying out numerous punitive home demolitions against the families of Palestinians thought to have carried out attacks on Israelis.

A lawyer from the Palestinian Addameer Prisoner's Support and Human Rights Organization, Muhammad Mahmoud, said that the Israeli Supreme Court issued a temporary order to freeze the order calling for the demolition of the homes of the families of Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal homes until the court decides on the appeal presented by the family and the HAMOKED Center for the Defense of the Individual.

A session by the Supreme Court will be held in the coming few days, he added.

The Israeli authorities delivered the demolition orders to the family of the two suspects last Thursday, amid a wave of similar demolitions.

A lawyer for Addameer and HAMOKED filed an objection to the legal counselor of the Israeli army in response, but the objection was refused. The lawyer and HAMOKED subsequently presented an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court.

The bodies of Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal are still in Israeli custody, and the Israeli police legal counselor has refused to deliver the bodies to the family.

The rationale given for refusing to release the body thus far has been that keeping them "helps prevent terrorist attacks in Jerusalem."

Human Rights Watch has called punitive home demolitions against the families of Palestinians suspected of killing Israeli Jews a form of "collective punishment" and have demanded they cease.

"Israel should impose an immediate moratorium on its policy of demolishing the family homes of Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks on Israelis," the New York-based group said in response to the sudden re-emergence of the policy after years in which Israeli authorities had not carried it out.

"The policy, which Israeli officials claim is a deterrent, deliberately and unlawfully punishes people not accused of any wrongdoing. When carried out in occupied territory, including East Jerusalem, it amounts to collective punishment, a war crime."

Critics charge that such demolitions feed resentment among family members and neighbors and only encourage a cycle of violence.

Others say the demolitions are deeply discriminatory and even racist, as dome demolitions are never carried out against Israeli Jews who intentionally kill Palestinians.
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