The United Nations’ Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, Robert Riper, contended that Israel’s punitive home demolition policy taken against Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks against Israelis violates international law, in calling for the cessation of the policy.“I am distressed by reports of punitive demolitions carried out by Israeli security forces of five homes in the Jerusalem, Nablus, and Ramallah governorates in the last few days,” said Riper, according to WAFA.

“We recognize Israel’s serious security challenges today, but any law enforcement response must be consistent with international law,” maintaining that, “Punitive demolitions are inherently unjust, punishing innocent people for the acts of others.

“Punitive demolitions are a form of collective penalty as they effectively punish not only the alleged perpetrators but also people (relatives, neighbors) for acts they have not individually committed,” stressed the statement.

It further explained that, “In operations to “deter others”, the family homes of five alleged perpetrators of attacks against Israelis in 2015 have been demolished by Israeli security forces since 14 November.”

At least nine additional adjacent apartments have been damaged and rendered unsafe, added the statement, and went on to cite the most recent punitive home demolition, which took place on Friday in Qalandiya refugee camp, where two Palestinians were killed, and nine others were injured, in clashes to protest against the demolition.

It was noted that initial assessments indicate 20 people, including eight children, who were rendered homeless by the demolition of the five homes.

The policy of such punitive demolitions was suspended by the Government of Israel in 2005, after an Israeli military committee deemed it ineffective as a deterrent.

Such actions have restarted since mid-2014, with the exception of one case in 2009.