As Part of Collective Punishment Policy: IOF Demolish 2 Family Houses of 2 Palestinian Prisoners
Date: 26 July 2022
Time: 12:00 GMT
Under its collective punishment policy against families of Palestinians accused of conducting attacks against Israeli occupation forces (IOF) or settlers, IOF demolished two family houses of two Palestinian prisoners in Salfit in the West Bank. During the demolition, clashes broke out between Palestinians and IOF; as a result, 4 Palestinians were injured.
According to investigations conducted by Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), at around 22:30 on Monday 25 July 2022, IOF accompanied with vehicles, trucks and demolition equipment, moved into Qarawet Bani Hassan village, western Salfit. IOF surrounded 2 family houses of prisoners Yousif Samih ‘Asi and Yehia Mohammed Mer’ie, who are both accused of conducting a shooting attack near Ari’el settlement on 03 April 2022 that killed the settlement’s security guard. IOF moved into the 2 houses at the same time and forced their residents to leave in order to put the demolition equipment and boxes. At around 00:10 on Tuesday, 26 July 2022, IOF’s bulldozers demolished prisoner Samih ‘Asi’s 2-storey house, where his family of 8, including his wife and 5 children, lives. The demolition continued until 03:00. Meanwhile, IOF planted explosives inside prisoner Yehia Mer’ie’s 4-storey house, where a family of 10, including a woman and 3 children, lives, and denoted it in two stages: the first at 07:30 and the second at 08:00. During the incursion and demolition, clashes broke out with Palestinians as IOF fired live and rubber bullets, wounding 4 Palestinians with rubber bullets.
Mohammed ‘Awad Mer’ie, Yehia’s father, said to PCHR’s fieldworker
“IOF suddenly raided our house and informed us to evacuate as they would blow it up in 2 minutes. I told them to give us some time because it is not that easy to evacuate as we have children, an elderly, and medicines. We were not given enough time and could not take anything from the house except for my 86-year-old father’s medicine. We could barely take my father out because he does not move while my grandchildren started crying and screaming after being surprised with IOF’s raid of the house having demolition equipment and boxes and rendering them homeless at a time like this. Later, they denoted the house, turning it into a pile of rubble.”
So far in 2022, IOF demolished 8 houses and sealed a nineth after destroying its internal contents under IOF’s collective punishment policy. Meanwhile, there are many houses threatened of demolition on the same grounds.
PCHR condemns the crime of house demolitions that falls within the collective punishment policy adopted by IOF and covered by the Israeli judiciary. PCHR reminds that this policy is internationally prohibited according to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that, “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.” Therefore, PCHR reiterates its call upon the international community to take immediate action to put an end to the Israeli crimes; and reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the occupied Palestinian territory.