Israel’s Punishment Of Palestinians Has Roots In British Colonial Rule

Fact checked by The People's Voice Community
A Demolition lorry probably heading towards a Palestinian residence

Israel consistently commits the cruel act of demolishing Palestinian homes and then giving it a verbal reference and justification by terming it “punitive demolitions.”

Israel justifies the outrageous act by referring to a 1945 British colonial law which provided provisions for house demolitions to the authorities.

According to polls, 80% of Israeli Jews are happy with “punitive demolitions” and insist on demolishing Palestinian homes, as their forefathers have done since 1945. The government is sensitive to the people’s desires as the people are sensitive to their government’s policies and their repercussions. This cosy relationship between the state and the Jewish populace is at a cost to the Palestinians, Muslims and the international rule of law and decency.

Electronic Intifada reports:

The Abu Jamal family lives in an apartment complex near the bottom of the valley in Jabal al-Mukabir, a neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.

On the building’s top floor, a thin trail of ash leads to what was once Ghassan Abu Jamal’s apartment.

A Palestinian youth looking at demolished houses

It is now a chaotic mess of mangled iron, piles of jagged cement and destroyed furniture – the remains of a home that was blown up from the inside.

Ghassan Abu Jamal, along with his cousin Udai Abu Jamal, entered a synagogue in West Jerusalem one year ago and shot dead four people before being killed by an Israeli soldier.

On the morning of 6 October, the Israeli army placed enough explosives in Ghassan’s small apartment to destroy it, as well as that of his brother Mouria, who lived next door.

This was the first home to be demolished as part of an onslaught of reprisals Israel has implemented in Jerusalem since a sharp rise in violence began at the start of October.

Israel refers to the practice of destroying the homes of Palestinian resistance fighters or their families as punitive demolitions.

An old Palestinian man surveys his house after it got punitively demolished
Palestinians survey a house after a punitive demolishment by the Israeli army in East Jerusalem

Since then, four more homes have been punitively demolished or sealed by Israel, while seven more demolition orders have been issued and at least 16 homes surveyed for possible destruction.

The policy is holdover from the emergency laws introduced by Palestine’s British colonial rulers in 1945.

Notably, Israel only implements the practice for suspected Palestinian attackers, never for Jewish perpetrators or suspects or their families.

Only for Palestinians

While sitting amongst these ruins under a ceiling that appears on the verge of collapse, Mouria Abu Jamal told The Electronic Intifada: “We don’t leave Jabal al-Mukabir anymore. There is nowhere to go.”

Edmondo Burr
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