UN rights experts call for end of punitive house demolition in Palestine and Israel
UN rights experts call for end of punitive house demolition in Palestine and Israel

[JURIST] The Israeli government’s use of house demolition as a punitive measure in response to alleged acts of violence by Palestinians must end immediately, two UN human rights experts urged Tuesday [press release], adding that the practice, which targets Palestinian homes in both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, is a violation of human rights law. The demolitions are mainly directed at individuals accused of crimes, though others have been affected as well. In the case of Mr. Al-Shaludi, the experts claim he was shot and killed by Israeli police, and then his home was demolished for “no other purpose than to punish his innocent parents and five siblings, rendering them homeless.” Petitions based on violations of international law have been filed against these punitive house demolitions, as they violate the rights of people, including children, who are not accused of a crime, and therefore constitute collective punishment. “The Rapporteurs warn that such demolitions only add to the frustration and despair felt by people living under prolonged military occupation.”

In recent months attacks between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory have led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, prompting the UN and the international community to call for an end to the conflict. In September an independent UN rights expert stated [JURIST report] that there has not been a single child in the Gaza Strip area not affected by the ongoing conflict. Earlier that month Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] accused [JURIST report] the Israeli military of committing war crimes over the summer by attacking schools where hundreds of displaced Palestinians sought shelter. The three attacks, which took place on July 24, July 30 and August 3, killed 45 people, including 17 children. In August the UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 [official website] formally requested access [JURIST report] to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory to gather first-hand information into the human rights situation in Gaza. Earlier that month the UN Human Rights Council [official website] appointed three experts [JURIST report] to an international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged international humanitarian and human rights law violations committed by both Israelis and Palestinians during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip.