Israel begins demolishing homes over attacks

Family homes of Palestinians connected with recent attacks against Israelis targeted amid tension in Jerusalem.

Four families who lived in the building, including that of the attacker AbdelRahman al-Shaludi, had to evacuate [AFP]

Israeli security forces have destroyed the East Jerusalem home of a Palestinian who carried out a suicide car attack in October that left two people dead, the military said, as pitched street battles raged in the aftermath of an attack on a synagogue in West Jerusalem that killed five Israelis.

“The home of the terrorist, who killed an Israeli baby and a young woman on October 22 in a tram station in Jerusalem was destroyed in Silwan,” the military said in a statement on Wednesday.

Four families who lived in the building – including that of the attacker Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, who was shot and killed shortly after the October assault – had to evacuate, said Al Jazeera’s Dalia Hatuqa, reporting from East Jerusalem.

The whole neighbourhood was closed off by the Israeli police, she said.

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from outside the demolished house in East Jerusalem, said that people in area say that this is a form of “collective punishment” even though the man responsible has been dealt with, and that it is being seen as “a wider way to punish … even the extended family”.

The demolition followed angry promises by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel would take strict measures to deal with a rising wave of Palestinian attacks that in recent weeks have taken 11 lives – nine in Jerusalem, one in Tel Aviv and one in the West Bank.

Sitting amid the rubble inside the family’s destroyed house, al-Shaludi’s grandmother said she was proud, reported the Associated Press news agency.

“No one should feel sorry for us, for our demolished home,” she said, refusing to give her name for fear of reprisals.

Netanyahu has vowed to revive the controversial policy of home demolitions, which Israel halted in 2005 after determining it was not an effective deterrent for attacks.

Meanwhile, Jewish worshippers returned on Wednesday to the synagogue, seeking comfort in prayer amid soaring tensions.

Angry confrontations

In the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabal al-Mukaber – the hometown of the two Palestinians who carried out the attack on the Har Nof Synagogue on Tuesday morning killing five Israelis – Israeli troops were confronted by angry Palestinians.

The Israeli troops were headed to the area to demolish the homes of the Abu Jamal cousins who carried out the synagogue attack. Four rabbis – three with Israeli-US citizenship and a fourth who was an Israeli-Briton – were killed by Palestinians armed with a gun and knives. A police officer died of his wounds hours after the attack.

The victims were identified as 59-year-old Moshe Twersky, Kalman Levine, 55; Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, and Avram Shmuel Goldberg, 68.

Israeli and Palestinian officials discuss synagogue attack

Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from West Jerusalem, said the confrontation had so far prevented the Israelis from demolishing the homes of Ghassan Abu Jamal and Oday Abu Jamal.

“But it is pretty safe to say that it will eventually [be carried out]. All these lends to general unease in the East of Jerusalem which has really been brewing for sometime now,” he added.

At least 10 Palestinians were wounded in violence near al-Ram, a Jerusalem neighbourhood that has been cut off from the rest of the city by the Israeli separation wall.

Approximately 25 others were wounded in Sur Baher, south of Jerusalem, Palestinian medical sources told Al Jazeera.

Violence also flared in the occupied West Bank with Israeli settlers attacking a school in the village of Urif, south of Nablus.

Clashes ensued and at least five Palestinians were wounded by rubber-coated steel bullets while others were taken to hospital with tear-gas-related injuries.

Israeli settlers also attacked Palestinian cars at bypass roads in the Hebron area, south of the West Bank.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies