Israel destroys home of Palestinian accused of killing settler


Human rights groups regularly condemn Israel’s policy of home demolitions as collective punishment.

Clashes broke out when Israeli forces raided a village in the occupied West Bank and demolished the house of a Palestinian they say killed an Israeli settler last December.

Using explosives, soldiers destroyed the home of Omar Jaradat on Saturday in the village of Silat al-Harithiya near the flashpoint city of Jenin, a statement by the Israeli army said.

Palestinians, mostly young men, threw stones and Molotov cocktails and soldiers responded with semi-automatic fire, it said.

At least three Palestinians were wounded, Palestinian medical sources told Al Jazeera.

Jaradat’s apartment was located on the first floor of a building. It was destroyed but the external structure was left standing. The demolition took place after an Israeli court rejected legal appeals by Jaradat’s family to leave their home alone.

Israel accuses Jaradat of being part of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad cell that shot dead an Israeli settler near the illegal Homesh settlement last year. Two other Israelis were lightly wounded in the shooting.

Israeli forces have previously demolished other homes of Jaradat’s family members in Silat al-Harithiya – two other suspects in the attack, Muhammad Jaradat and Ghaith Jaradat. Those operations in February and March also led to clashes, in which the army shot dead a Palestinian teenager.

Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks, a policy human rights groups and some Israeli defence officials say is ineffective, does not deter Palestinians from carrying out further attacks, and is an unfair act of collective punishment.

The clashes add to tensions in Israel and the West Bank as a large-scale manhunt continued for a pair of Palestinians suspected of killing three Israelis in an axe attack on Thursday night near Tel Aviv.

A string of anti-Israeli attacks since March 22 have killed dozens of people. Over the past month, Israeli forces and Palestinians have also clashed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Israeli-annexed Old City.

About 475,000 Israelis live in the West Bank in settlements regarded as illegal under international law, alongside 2.9 million Palestinians.

 





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