HRW: Terrorist Home Demolitions are 'War Crimes'

NGO calls on Israel to end practice of demolishing terrorists' homes as deterrent after deadly attacks.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Family of terrorist Abdulrahman Shaloudi pick through partially destroyed home
Family of terrorist Abdulrahman Shaloudi pick through partially destroyed home

Human Rights Watch called on Israel Saturday to stop razing the homes of Palestinian terrorists, claiming the practice could constitute a "war crime."

"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, as the fate of three houses slated for demolition awaits a court ruling.  

"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."

The east Jerusalem families of  Muataz Hijazi, and of cousins Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal, both shot by police after two separate attacks in the capital Jerusalem, have been served demolition orders on their homes but have appealed.  

Their lawyer, Mohammed Mahmud, said in a statement that an Israeli military court would hear their petition on Sunday morning.

Hijazi was shot dead at his home in Abut Tor after he opened fire on police attempting to arrest him over the attempted murder of Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick on October 29.

The Abu Jamals, from Jabal Mukaber, carried out the brutal attack on a Jerusalem synagogue last Tuesday, murdering five people and wounding several others with meat-cleavers and a pistol before being killed by police.

On Wednesday, security forces razed part of the Jerusalem home of Abdulrahman Shaloudi, the terrorist who murdered two people last month, including a three-month old baby girl, after he rammed his car into a group of pedestrians. That was the first punitive demolition in Jerusalem since 2009, and came after Israeli Prime Minister Binamin Netanyahu vowed a harsh response to the synagogue attack, Jerusalem's bloodiest in years.  

Meanwhile, Israeli Interior Minister Gilad Erdan is examining the possibility of revoking the permanent residency permits of Palestinian Arabs living in Jerusalem if they are involved in violence and incitement.

AFP contributed to this report.