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Israeli forces demolish Nablus apartment belonging to suspected attacker's family

May 3, 2016 1:10 P.M. (Updated: May 3, 2016 5:00 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces carried out a punitive demolition overnight on Monday in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, destroying a home belonging to the family of a young Palestinian man accused of killing two Israeli settlers in October.

Zeid Amir was accused of involvement in a drive-by shooting attack in early October, which resulted in the deaths of two Israeli settlers near the illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar in the northern West Bank. The attack resulted in widespread rioting by Israeli settlers and numerous attacks on Palestinian communities and their properties.

Witnesses told Ma’an that dozens of Israeli military vehicles raided the area surrounding the city of Nablus at around 2 am before breaking into an apartment building belonging to Amir’s family located near al-Rawda college on the eastern outskirts of Nablus.

Israeli soldiers proceeded to demolish the internal and external walls of the apartment using electric jackhammers.

Amir’s father told Ma’an that the demolition wasn’t a surprise considering an Israeli military court rejected the family’s appeal against the demolition order two weeks ago.

Israel’s policy of punitive demolitions against homes belonging to the families of Palestinians accused of attacks on Israelis has been widely condemned by the international community, and highlighted as a form of collective punishment in contravention of international law.

The widely-criticized Israeli policy was suspended in 2005 -- with the exception of one demolition in 2009 -- after an Israeli military committee reported that it was ineffective at deterring attacks on Israelis. However, the practice was resumed in 2014, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called to shorten the legal process necessary to carry out punitive demolitions following an increase in attacks in October of last year.

The punitive demolition of Palestinian homes have since seen a dramatic increase since the upsurge of violence.

According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem 149 Palestinians, 65 of them minors, have lost their homes since October due to large-scale punitive demolitions, which the organization has labeled “court-sanctioned revenge.”

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