Updated summary on punitive home demolitions המוקד להגנת הפרט
Updated summary on punitive home demolitions
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From the beginning of 2019 and until April 28, the Israeli military demolished – completely or partially – five homes in the West Bank pursuant to a punitive demolition order and with the approval of the High Court of Justice (HCJ). Two of the HCJ judgments were unanimous (one in a petition by HaMoked and another in a petition by JLAC). In the remaining three judgments, all given in HaMoked’s petitions, a minority opinion held that the demolition order should be revoked or limited in scope, either due to the circumstances of the case or given the inherent legal difficulties arising from the use of Regulation 119 of the Defense (Emergency) Regulations of 1945, cited in the issuance of such punitive orders.

Since Israel revived its policy of punitive home demolitions in the West Bank, in July 2014, the military has demolished – completely or partially – 52 homes, 6 of them in East Jerusalem; and sealed 9 homes, 5 of them in East Jerusalem. Additionally, 9 demolition or sealing orders were revoked – 7 of them following a petition to the HCJ.

Punitive demolitions constitute an official policy of harming innocent people, the effectivity of which is under considerable doubt – even according to Israel. HaMoked reminds that the demolition of homes is not pursued as an alternative to criminal punishment, but alongside it, and its primary victims are innocent family members, often including young children. This is an act of collective punishment, in violation of international law and the basic principle in Israeli law that a person must not be punished for the deeds of another. HaMoked calls on Israel to abandon this unlawful and unworthy policy at one, and calls on the High Court justices to stop skirting the issue and to finally conduct a rigorous and thorough review of the issue – which has never been conducted – and to prohibit all punitive home demolitions, as common sense, basic human morality and international law dictate.
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