Israel to revive razing of homes as form of punishment

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Israel to revive razing of homes as form of punishment

Daily Telegraph

Adrian Blomfield

May 7, 2012


Ehud Barak, Israel's increasingly hawkish defence minister, approved an intelligence recommendation to demolish the houses of Hakim and Ajmad Awad, two cousins from the Palestinian village of Awarta.

The decision, the first of its kind in nearly seven years, will render the wives and children of both men homeless.

The two Palestinians are serving life sentences for the murders of Ehud and Ruth Fogel, as well as three of their six children, in the West Bank settlement of Itamar in March, 2011.

The dead included a three-month-old infant and a four-year-old boy stabbed to death in a frenzied attack that horrified Israel.

The Israeli authorities abandoned the once common practice of punitive demolitions in 2005 after facing heavy international criticism.

The recommendation to resurrect the policy was made by Shin Bet, Israel's domestic security agency, which justified the move on the grounds that the two families of the two men had destroyed evidence relevant to the case.

The agency said it would also discourage "potential terrorists" from mounting similar attacks, a sentiment echoed by Yaakov Perry, the former head of Shin Bet.

"This is one of the most brutal terrorist attacks ever and the Shin Bet thinks that the demolition is a punitive step that may deter other terrorists from carrying out such tragic crimes," he told Israel's Army Radio.

But human rights groups condemned the decision, which still has to be ratified by legal advisers to the Israeli government.

"The perpetrators have already been arrested and convicted," said Jeff Halper, the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. "If they demolish the houses this is a case of collective punishment which is illegal under both Israeli and international law as it is against the Fourth Geneva Convention."

The decision also attracted criticism from within the Israeli Defence Forces, with opponents warning that it could be interpreted as an act of vengeance that would increase tensions in the West Bank, which has been largely peaceful since the murders.

With Israelis poised to go to the polls in September other critics accused Mr Barak of naked electioneering, suggesting that he had succumbed to pressure from the settler lobby to avenge the deaths.

Mr Halper said the fact that so many months had elapsed since the cousins were convicted was an indication that the defence minister was acting for political gain rather than on the basis of military rationale.

"It makes no sense from a military logic," he said. "On the contrary, things have been very quiet since then. It is political logic as we are getting close to elections and the setter lobby has more clout now and is pressing the political echelons in terms of revenge."
Niccolo and Donkey

Here's the key bit:

All this does is build the case against Israel internationally and isolate its leadership even further.
President Camacho

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is essentially a "total war" outside any framework of international law and both sides understand it as such. Israel's "civilian" settlers are front line troops in Israel's land-appropriation strategy, tasked with objectives ranging from destroying Palestinian commerce (razing olive trees, obstructing roads, etc) to outright violence designed to permanently eject residents from their holdings. The Palestinians, in turn, treat all Israeli settlers as combatants for this reason and attack them. The Israelis then punish the Palestinians collectively, etc.

I would be interested to see if there are noticeably different levels of support among Palestinians for "terrorist" acts against settlers on occupied land versus terrorist attacks on civilians within the state of Israel. My guess would be that there is a discrepancy, and that Israeli settlers are viewed as "legitimate" targets to a greater extent than ordinary Israeli civilians. But increasingly the lines are blurred on both sides...

Bronze Age Pervert

The real deterrent would be killing the families of terrorists, bombers, etc.
That would stop all this nonsense overnight.

The IDF would kill the wife and kids of a suicide bomber, so her brothers would commit suicide bombings, you kill their wives and children, and their brothers would commit suicide bombings.

The entire reason Palestinians kill Israelis is retribution for the killing of Palestinians. If you kill more Palestinians, you increase their desire to strike back.