Israel razes attackers’ homes as unrest spreads

Forces demolish two homes and close off a third in occupied East Jerusalem after calls for expanded security measures.

Palestinian boy runs away from tear gas fired Israeli troops during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Bet El, near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah
Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces throughout the occupied territories since Saturday [Reuters]

Israel has razed a pair of homes belonging to the families of two Palestinians who attacked Israelis last year, according to witnesses and media reports.

Israeli authorities demolished the home of Ghassan Abu Jamal during the early hours of Tuesday. Another home, belonging to Muhammad Jaabis, was also flattened.

Both were located in occupied East Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Violence: Palestinians killed by Israeli forces

Along with his cousin Uday, Abu Jamal killed four rabbis and a policeman during an attack on a synagogue in West Jerusalem in November before being shot dead by police on the scene.

Jaabis was also fatally shot by police after he drove a bulldozer into a bus on August 4, leaving one Israeli dead and wounding several others.

Israeli forces cordoned off a room in a third house, belonging to Muataz Hijazi, a Palestinian who shot and critically wounded Israeli activist Yehuda Glick in October 2014.

Hijazi, 32, was killed by police on the roof of his home as officers raided it just hours after the shooting.

The demolitions come on the back of Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that Israel will implement harsh security measures in order to quell growing unrest in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

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Israeli protesters gathered outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence on Monday night and called on the government to allow the expansion of settlements and to provide additional security on roads used by settlers in the West Bank, according to local media reports. 

During an emergency cabinet meeting on Monday night, Netanyahu instructed Ayelet Shaked,  Israeli justice minister, to form a committee to expedite legally the homes of Palestinians accused of attacking Israelis.

Netanyahu also authorised an increase of soldiers and police in the West Bank, while deploying thousands of more police officers throughout Jerusalem.

“Nobody will have immunity, anywhere,” he said. 

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Four Israelis have been killed in the last week, including two settlers shot dead on Thursday night and another two Israelis fatally stabbed in Jerusalem on Saturday. 

Since Thursday’s killings, Israeli forces have been deployed in large numbers throughout the West Bank, while Jewish settlers have targeted Palestinians in dozens of physical attacks or acts of vandalism.

Harsh response

As protests have grown in frequency in areas across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israeli forces have responded harshly.

On Tuesday, a 13-year-old Palestinian in the Aida refugee camp in the Bethlehem area died after being shot by Israeli soldiers.

Huthaifa Suleiman, an 18-year-old Palestinian who was shot by Israeli forces during clashes at the Tulkarm checkpoint for allegedly throwing fire bombs, later died of his wounds

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At least 499 Palestinians have been injured in clashes since Saturday, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Of that total, at least 41 were shot by live ammunition and 297 had suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation. 

Ismael Radwan, a Hamas official based in the Gaza Strip, called on Palestinians to continue “resisting the Israeli occupation by all means”.

He said Hamas convened on Monday to “discuss the Israeli escalation against our people in the West Bank and Jerusalem”.

“We call on the [Palestinian Authority] to stop security coordination with the Israelis and to free the hands of the Palestinian resistance to defend our people,” Radwan told Al Jazeera, referring to ongoing policy of cooperation between Palestinian security and the Israeli military.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies