Israel destroys Palestinian’s West Bank home

Palestinians inspect the damage to a house following an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

Palestinians inspect the damage to a house following an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

The Israeli military early Tuesday destroyed the West Bank house of a Palestinian from Hebron in the West Bank who allegedly killed an Israeli in a knife attack last year, the army said, according to Agence France-Presse.

The destruction of the house of Maher al-Hashlamoun was accompanied by clashes between dozens of Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli soldiers.

Hashlamoun, a member of Islamic Jihad, was given two life sentences by a military court in March for the November 10, 2014 murder of Dalia Lemkus, 26, and the attempted murder of two other people on a road in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, south of Jerusalem.

Last week, the Israeli government ordered an intensification of punitive home demolitions in response to a wave of stabbing and shooting attacks and other deadly unrest.

It says the controversial policy acts as a deterrent but critics say the main victims of such demolitions are relatives forced to pay for another person’s actions.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem, more than a third of the city’s population, on Monday woke up to a new reality: Israeli troops are encircling Arab neighborhoods, blocking roads with concrete cubes the size of washing machines and ordering some of those leaving on foot to lift their shirts to show they are not carrying knives.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has portrayed the measures as temporary, in line with what his advisers say any police department in the U.S. or Europe would do to quell urban unrest.

But some allege he is dividing occupied Jerusalem, something Netanyahu has said he would never do.

Arab residents, who have long complained of discriminatory Israeli policies, say the latest closures are bringing them to a boiling point and lead to more violence.

The unprecedented clampdown is meant to halt the rash of stabbings attacks. Many of the attacks were allegedly carried out by residents of occupied East Jerusalem, the sector captured and annexed by Israel in 1967 and claimed by Palestinians as a future capital.

The unrest, the most serious in years, has also been stirred in part by anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on the mosque compound, Islam’s most sacred site outside Saudi Arabia and also revered by Jews as the location of two destroyed biblical Jewish temples.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday Israeli and Palestinian leaders need to clarify the status of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound to help end a spate of bloodshed and restore stability.

Kerry, preparing for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Germany and then with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah, likely in Amman, also rejected a proposal by France at the United Nations for an international observer presence at the holy site.

On Monday, a statement from the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group, which aims to “foster understanding between Britain and Palestine and to promote a just and durable peace in the Middle East,” condemned the violence.

“All murders and other attacks on civilians are unacceptable, whoever commits them and whoever are the victims,” the statement read.

“As of 19 October, the recent alarming escalation of violence in Israel and Palestine has claimed the lives of 9 Israelis who have died in knife and other attacks by Palestinians. Over 40 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settler attacks. Estimates suggest around half the Palestinians killed were attackers; the rest having been killed during demonstrations, in clashes with Israeli troops and in air strikes on Gaza,” the group added.


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