Israel continues punitive demolitions for suspected Nablus attackers

03:00 Dec 3 2015 Nablus' al-Dahya neighborhood

Israel continues punitive demolitions for suspected Nablus attackers Israel continues punitive demolitions for suspected Nablus attackers
A young boy inspects the damage in a house demolished by Israeli troops in Qalandiya on Nov.16, 2015. (AFP/File)

NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces early Thursday demolished the Nablus home of a Palestinian man suspected of organizing an attack in October that left two Israeli settlers dead, Palestinian security sources said.

Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the al-Dahya neighborhood in the southern area of the occupied West Bank city in preparation to demolish the home of Ragheb Ahmad Muhammed Alawi.

Israeli soldiers forced Alawi’s family to evacuate the home hours before the demolition, a relative of the family, Ahmad Alawi, told Ma’an.

The home was inside of a four-story building that held eight total apartments, and the demolition likely caused damage to neighboring units, Alawi added.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the demolition and told Ma’an that “overnight, in accordance to the direction of Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon, security personnel demolished the the residency of Ragheb Ahmad Muhammed Alawi.”

The spokesperson said that the demolition was carried out on the grounds that Alawi “plotted and executed the lethal attack” that killed Israeli settlers Naama and Eitam Henkin on Oct. 1.

The 37-year-old was responsible for recruiting and supplying weapons for the men who carried out the attack, and was part of a “Hamas terror cell,” the spokesperson added.

Clashes broke out in Nablus following Thursday’s demolition, and one youth was shot in the face with a rubber-coated steel-bullet, locals told Ma’an.

He was transferred to Nablus’ Rafidya hospital for medical treatment.

Nablus 'Hamas terror cell' targeted

Alawi -- married with one child -- was one of five Palestinians to be imprisoned on Oct. 3 after Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, said the five confessed to involvement in the Oct. 1 attack during interrogations that took place shortly after.

The homes of three others detained at the time -- Yahia Haj Hamed, Samir Zahir Kusa, and Kerem Lutfi Razek -- were destroyed by Israeli forces on Nov. 13.

The demolitions are a part of a series of punitive measures being carried out by the Israeli government to “deter” future attacks.
Israeli watchdog Hamoked had filed a petition to the Israeli High Court against the demolitions on Oct. 29.

The group appeals such cases on behalf of Palestinian families on the grounds that punitive home demolition constitutes collective punishment, as the main victims of the demolition are individuals who have not carried out crimes.

According to Israeli rights group B'Tselem, an Israeli army investigation concluded in 2005 that the deterrence value of home demolitions was questionable, and the military decided to stop the practice in 2009. The practice was then resumed in November of last year.

Following the demolitions on Nov. 13, a spokesperson of the Hamas movement, Sami Abu Zuhri, said that that demolitions would increase the determination of Palestinians resisting the Israeli occupation.

The demolition of the Alawi residence comes as the Oct. 1 attack has largely been viewed by Israeli authorities as the catalyst for an escalation of violence that has left at least 105 Palestinians and 19 Israelis dead since.

In the attack, the Henkin couple was shot dead while driving between Israeli settlements in the Nablus area.

The attack sparked a series of reprisal attacks by settlers on Palestinians and their property, and was the first of several attacks carried out by Palestinians on Israeli military and civilians.

The majority of Palestinians who have carried out alleged, actual, and attempted attacks have been shot dead on scene, and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called for punitive measures following the attacks.
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