10 January – 30 June 2003
The house demolition policy adopted by Israeli occupying forces against families of Palestinians who carried out, planned or facilitated attacks against Israeli targets in the Occupied Palestinian Territories or inside Israel, is one of the clearest examples of war crimes carried out by Israel against Palestinian civilians. The Israeli government and its occupying forces have declared that the policy is aimed at deterring Palestinian resistance activities, yet these measures constitute a form of collective punishment and retaliation, which are prohibited under international law.
This report highlights this serious breach of international law and calls upon the international community to pressure the Israeli government to put an end to the policy of collective punishment. The report only includes houses that were demolished as a form of punishment against the families of Palestinians who carried out, planned or facilitated attacks against Israeli targets and does not include the thousands of other houses that have been demolished for other reasons, such as the lack of building licenses or security claims.
Since the policy was officially adopted by the Israeli government at the beginning of August 2002, Israeli occupying forces have demolished thousands of houses. The silence the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War as well as the international community and have simply encouraged Israeli occupying forces to commit further war crimes against Palestinian civilians in the OPT.
This is the second in a series of reports published by PCHR on the policy of house demolition practiced by Israeli occupying forces against families of Palestinians who carried out, planned or facilitated attacks against Israeli targets in the OPT or inside Israel. Over the period under study, 1 January – 30 June 2003, Israeli occupying forces demolished 116 houses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including 49 houses belonging to families of Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces; 33 houses belonging to families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails; 29 houses belonging to families of allegedly wanted Palestinians; and 5 houses demolished for harboring wanted Palestinians. As a consequence, approximately 166 Palestinian families (1165 people), mostly women, children and old people, became homeless and dozens of neighboring houses were damaged.
The full report is available in PDF format.