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Israeli court okays demolition of Jerusalem attack suspect homes

Jan. 1, 2015 2:52 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 2, 2015 7:57 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal to prevent the demolition of the homes of four Palestinians from East Jerusalem who attacked Israelis in West Jerusalem in recent months.

"As usual, Israel ended the year 2014 by rejecting the appeal of the al-Akkari family and the families of other martyrs … basing its decision on the strategy of the Israeli ministry of defense according to which demolition orders must be carried out in order to achieve deterrence," lawyer Midhat Dibah, who defended al-Akkari family, said.

He added that the Israeli ministry of defense pledged at the Supreme Court to try and minimize, through specialized engineers, the impacts of the demolitions on other houses adjacent to those slated for demolition.

Human rights sources told a Ma'an reporter in Jerusalem that the Israeli Supreme Court gave approval to a decision to demolish the homes of Muhammad Jaabis from Jabal al-Mukabbir, who was shot dead on Aug. 4, 2014 after he allegedly ran "deliberately" into an Israeli bus.

Furthermore, the court okayed the demolition of the homes of Udayy and Ghassan Abu Jamal, also from Jabal al-Mukabbir, who were shot dead after they attacked worshippers in a synagogue in West Jerusalem.

The Demolition of the home of Ibrahim al-Akkari from Shufat refugee camp was also okayed by the Israeli Supreme Court. Al-Akkari was shot dead after he ran over Israeli pedestrian at a light rail stop in Jerusalem.

The court gave the Israeli Ministry of Defense 15 days to determine whether to demolish or merely seal off the home of Muataz Hijazi in Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Hijazi was shot dead in his Silwan apartment by Israeli soldiers after a brief gun battle, only hours after Israeli authorities said he opened fire and wounded Yehuda Glick, a US-born extremist rabbi who has called for the destruction of the Al-Aqsa mosque and its replacement with a temple.

Appeals on behalf of the families against the demolition orders were submitted by Israeli human rights group HamoKed (Center for the Defense of the Individual).

Watch dogs have widely criticized the Israeli policy of home demolition, previously focused on the West Bank and Gaza, saying that it contributes to a cycle of violence and merely inflicts collective punishment on family members.

In mid-November, Israeli rights group B'Tselem said that punitive house demolitions are "fundamentally wrong" and contravene "basic moral standards by punishing people for the misdeeds of others."

The attacks by the suspects came after months of protests against widespread discrimination across East Jerusalem, which have been put down violently by Israeli authorities. Hundreds of East Jerusalem Palestinians have been arrested, in addition to hundreds more in both the West Bank and inside Israel.

The protests have been spurred on by widespread anger at an Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip that left nearly 2,200 dead, as well ongoing killings and shootings by Israeli soldiers and settlers of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem live within territory Israel has unilaterally annexed, they lack citizenship rights and are instead classified only as "residents" whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

Jerusalem Palestinians face discrimination in all aspects of life including housing, employment, and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel's separation wall.
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