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Palestinian family faces imminent displacement by Israeli punitive demolition

Oct. 3, 2017 1:53 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 7, 2017 9:21 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian family faces imminent displacement after the Israeli army ordered that their home in the village of Beit Surik in the occupied West Bank be punitively demolished.

Nimr Jamal, a 37-year-old father of four, was shot dead last week after he shot and killed an Israeli border police officer and two Israeli security guards at the illegal Israeli settlement Har Adar, adjacent to Beit Surik.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that the “pre-demolition notice” delivered during an overnight raid before dawn on Tuesday said the family would have to evacuate within 72 hours or submit an appeal before the demolition.

Appeals against punitive demolitions are rarely successful, even in cases in which the relatives of actual or alleged attackers have not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Israeli intelligence has reportedly said that Jamal was left with his four children after his wife fled to Jordan following significant personal and family problems including domestic violence, according to Israeli media.

Following the attack, Beit Surik and a cluster of neighboring West Bank villages northwest of Jerusalem were placed under a strict military siege, which entered its eight day on Tuesday and was denounced as an act of collective punishment on some 40,000 innocent Palestinians by human rights group B'Tselem.

Israeli authorities will also completely seal off the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip for 11 consecutive days over the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, according to Israeli media.

Israel regularly imposes closures on the West Bank and Gaza for Jewish holidays, but week-long festivals like Sukkot usually only have closures imposed at the end of the holiday, lasting a few days. The Jerusalem Post reported that the extended closure was approved by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman as a result the Har Adar attack.

Israeli forces have also interrogated and detained several members of Jamal's family including two of his brothers, and revoked revoked all of his family members’ permits to enter Israel for work. Jamal himself had an Israeli permit to work in illegal settlements.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fast-tracked punitive home demolitions in an effort to “deter” attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals since a wave of unrest peaked in the occupied Palestinian territory in late 2015.

The move came despite past recommendations by an Israeli military committee that the practice did not deter attacks. B’Tselem has condemned the practice of punitive home demolitions and work permit confiscations as "court-sanctioned revenge" carried out on family members who have not committed crimes, amounting to collective punishment.
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