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Israeli forces demolishes homes of Tel Aviv attack suspects

Aug. 4, 2016 10:23 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 5, 2016 12:05 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces raided the town of Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank late on Wednesday night and demolished the family homes of two Palestinian cousins who carried out a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv in June which killed four Israelis.

Yatta residents said that hundreds of Israeli soldiers raided central Yatta and the al-Hileh area, the locations of the homes of Khalid and Muhammad Makhamreh, who have been held in Israeli custody since the attack.

Israeli bulldozers then demolished Khalid’s family's house, while Muhammad’s family home was remotely detonated. A video released by the Israeli army shows bulldozers demolishing one house, while Israeli troops set up explosives in another, which was then detonated remotely, possibly by a drone.

Locals added that Israeli soldiers forced residents of both houses to evacuate before starting the demolition.

In late July, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the home demolition orders presented to the Makhamreh cousins’ families.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fast-tracked punitive home demolitions in an effort to “deter” attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals in the wake of a wave of violence that has swept across the West Bank since October.

While families who receive demolition orders are given the opportunity to appeal the measures, Israel’s High Court of Justice typically rejects such appeals, according to Israeli watchdog Hamoked.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem has meanwhile condemned the practice as “court-sanctioned revenge” carried out on family members who have not committed crimes, amounting to collective punishment and illegal under international law.

In the wake of the gun attack in Tel Aviv, sweeping punitive measures have been imposed in the occupied Palestinian territory, in what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein said “may amount to collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians in this very tense time."

While “Israel has a human rights obligation to bring those responsible to account for their crimes,” he continued, “the measures taken against the broader population punish not the perpetrators of the crime, but tens -- maybe hundreds -- of thousands of innocent Palestinians.”

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