The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed in the predawn hours of Thursday the Ramallah and Birzeit area of the West Bank and demolished two homes of Palestinian prisoners, displacing their families.
Walid Hanatsheh and Yazan Mughamis are currently in detention and facing trials over allegations of their involvement in carrying out a bombing attack in the occupied West Bank last year which killed a Jewish settler and injured another.
Eyewitnesses told local media that troops aboard military vehicles stormed the town of Birzeit at dawn Thursday and cordoned off the area around Mughamis’s house before bulldozers embarked on tearing it down.
In Ramallah, the IOF stormed the neighborhood of al-Tireh and used jackhammers to demolish the interior walls of Hanatsheh apartment since it was part of a six-story apartment building. Other apartments reportedly sustained some cracks during the demolition.
Local citizens from the neighborhood also said that some parked cars near the building sustained material damage.
Violent clashes broke out during the demolitions and dozens of Palestinian youths threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at soldiers and torched tires on roads. The IOF responded by firing tear gas and stun grenades.
The families were reportedly notified of the demolition orders last October.
Human rights groups term the policy of home demolitions as “collective punishment”. According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, “over the years, Israel has demolished hundreds of houses as part of this policy, leaving thousands of Palestinians homeless”.
Israel claims its demolition policy is used as a “mean of deterrence” to stop attacks by Palestinians, who say they are resisting Jewish settlers’ daily crimes, and Israeli occupation and encroachment on Palestinian land.
Israel systematically carries out home demolition orders in east Jerusalem and the West Bank under different pretexts, including unlicensed construction and their location near the separation wall and settlements.