Israeli authorities set to raze another Palestinian home

Jerusalem (Caasimada Online) – Israeli authorities have ordered the demolition of the home of a Palestinian man responsible for a fatal attack on Israelis. 

The decision to destroy the house, which was built with compensation paid to the family following the killing of one of their relatives by an Israeli, has caused controversy. 

The attack in question took place in January 2022, when 21-year-old Khayri Alqam killed seven people outside a synagogue in the Neve Yaacov settlement. 

Alqam was subsequently shot dead by Israeli security forces, and his family received a demolition order for their apartment.

The policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinians who kill Israelis is longstanding. However, the Alqam case has raised questions about the legality and morality of such actions. 

Background of the Palestinian family 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 29, 2023 Moussa, A Palestinian father of Khayri Alqam the gunman who killed seven people in an attack on January 27 in Israel, speaks on the phone outside his family home in the mostly Arab east Jerusalem neighbourhood of al-Tur. – The home of the Palestinian man behind a fatal attack on Israelis is to be demolished by Israeli authorities, even though his family says it was built with compensation paid to them after one of their relatives was killed by an Israeli. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

Khayri Alqam’s grandfather was killed in 1998, allegedly by an Israeli extremist. An Israeli man was arrested in 2010 in connection with the killing and a series of other murders of Palestinians. However, he was later released, and no one was convicted for the killing.

At the time of the killing, the Alqam family received compensation from the Israeli government and used some of the money to build their home in the al-Tur neighborhood of annexed east Jerusalem.  

They were living on the second floor of the apartment block, with other floors occupied by relatives. 

Israeli demolition order 

The entrances to the Alqam family’s home were sealed within days of the attack, and the demolition order was issued soon after.

The family is currently appealing the decision but is uncertain whether the house will be spared.

According to Nadia Daqqa, a lawyer with the Israeli rights group HaMoked, the fact that the state may have contributed to the construction of the house makes no difference to the authorities.  

“For them, the house was where a Palestinian terrorist lived,” she said. 

The decision to demolish the Alqam family’s home has been controversial, with critics arguing that it amounts to collective punishment.  

Under Israeli legislation, a demolition order can be issued to a relative of an attacker, regardless of whether they had any involvement in the attack. 

Israeli policy of demolishing homes

Successive Israeli governments have implemented the policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinians who kill Israelis. However, the Alqam case marks a significant departure from past practice.

In the past, there has usually been a period after a demolition order is issued to allow residents to appeal. 

However, in the Alqam case, the home was sealed within 48 hours of the attack, reflecting a tougher stance by the Israeli government.

The policy of demolishing homes has also been expanded to include cases in which there are no deaths or attacks carried out by children, according to Nadia Daqqa.

Critics argue that the policy is a form of collective punishment and violates international law. 

The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits destroying private property except when necessary for military operations.

The Alqam family is not the only one affected by the policy. In February, the family home of a 13-year-old boy who shot and wounded two Israelis in the Silwan neighborhood of east Jerusalem was also sealed.

Human impact

The demolition of homes has a significant human impact. The Alqam family has had to move in with Moussa Alqam’s mother, who lives in the same building as their sealed apartment. 

The four-story building has been described by Moussa Alqam as a “military checkpoint,” with Israeli forces stationed at the property for more than two weeks.

The impact is not limited to the families of attackers. In the case of Hussein Qaraqe, who killed three Israelis in east Jerusalem before being shot dead, Israeli authorities initially targeted his parents’ house. 

However, when they discovered Qaraqe was renting an apartment a relative did not own, they targeted an alternative home to demolish. 

This led to confusion, as Israeli forces also sealed off his sister’s house for a few days before being reopened.

Nadia Daqqa, the lawyer with the Israeli rights group HaMoked, has criticized the confusion and inconsistency of the Israeli government’s approach to the demolition policy.  

She argues that it is emblematic of the “chaos and current crazy period” in which the government seeks to ramp up retaliatory measures.

The decision to demolish the homes of Palestinians who kill Israelis is deeply controversial. 

The Israeli government argues that it is a necessary deterrent against future attacks. However, critics say it is a form of collective punishment violating international law.

In 2005, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem estimated that around 2,500 homes had been demolished in the occupied territories since 1967, affecting tens of thousands of people. 

The group argued that the policy was “immoral, illegal, and ineffective.”

Source: AFP