Palestinian Center for Human Rights

In the context of the collective punishment policy pursued by the Israeli occupation forces against the families of Palestinian citizens accused of carrying out acts of resistance against them and/or against the settlers, those forces demolished a house in the early hours of Monday, 11/5/2020, a house for the family of the citizen detained in its prisons Qassam Abdul-Karim Al-Barghouthi, in Kobar village, north of Ramallah.

According to PCHR’s investigations and eyewitnesses, at approximately 2:30 a.m. the aforementioned day, the Israeli occupation forces, reinforced with more than 25 military vehicles, armored personnel carriers and a military bulldozer, stormed the village of Kobar, north of Ramallah. The members of the force got out of their military vehicles, spread across the streets of the village, and between residential houses, and stormed the roofs of a number of them, and closed the entrance leading to the home of the detainee’s family in the occupation prisons, Qassam Abdel Karim Al-Barghouthi, 26, amid random firing of tear-gas canisters in the village’s neighborhoods.

A large number of army members stormed the aforementioned house with the aim of implementing the decision to demolish the house the family had previously been informed of on 11/2020. The occupation forces accuse Barghouthi, who has been detained since 26/8/2019, of participating in the bombing operation that took place in the “Ein Popin” area near the village of Deir Ibzi’a, west of Ramallah, on 23/8/2019, which resulted in the death of an Israeli soldier and wounding 2 others.

At approximately 3:30 a.m., Israeli forces began bulldozing the two-storey house, each floor area of ​​180 square meters, in which his parents and brother lived, while they began bulldozing the entire upper floor, causing cracks in the basement. Occupation forces withdrew from the village at approximately 5:40 am, amid heavy tear-gas fire, when confrontations erupted during the withdrawal operation. No injuries were reported among the citizens.

It is important to mention that the occupation forces stormed the family home on January 2, 2020, and then proceeded to violently search it, destroying its contents. At that time, members of the engineering unit proceeded to take measurements of the house and made holes in the internal walls, in preparation for its demolition. Before occupation forces withdrew from the house, they informed the family for the second time verbally of the decision to demolish the house, forces carried out the same assault, on 7/11/2019.

The Barghouthi home is the fourth Palestinian-owned house that the Israeli occupation forces have demolished as part of its collective punishment policy, since the beginning of 2020. Israel seeks to punish the families of Palestinian citizens whom they accuse of carrying out acts of resistance against them and/or against its illegal settlers.

PCHR condemns the crime of demolishing these homes, which falls within the framework of the collective punishment policies implemented by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians.

The Center recalls that Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians in Time of War;
prohibits collective punishment explicitly stating the following:

    No protected person may be punished for a violation he did not personally commit.
    Collective sanctions likewise prohibit all measures of threat or terrorism.
    Robbery is prohibited.
    Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

Therefore, the Center reiterates its call on the international community to take immediate action to stop the crimes of the Israeli occupation, and renews its request to the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations contained in Article 1 of the Convention, according to which it pledges to respect the Convention and ensure its respect in all cases.

In addition to fulfilling its obligations contained in Article 146 of the Convention Prosecuting those accused of committing grave breaches of the agreement, bearing in mind that these violations are war crimes according to Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilians and under the first additional protocol to the agreement in ensuring the right to protection of Palestinian civilians in the occupied territory.

Originally published in Arabic
Image: PNN file photo