As a first step in response to growing Palestinian unrest since Israeli PM Netanyahu promised to apply a “strong hand” in dealing with the crisis, the IDF has demolished the homes of two Palestinians who had perpetrated attacks against Israelis.
One of the houses belonged to a Palestinian who killed four worshippers and a policeman in a synagogue in Jerusalem last year. The other belonged to an attacker who crashed a bulldozer into traffic, killing one person.
Both perpetrators were killed after the attacks. Demolishing perpetrators’ homes is a practice employed by Israel as a measure believed to help deter such attacks in the future.
The Israeli army is also preparing to demolish the home of a third attacker, who tried to killed an Orthodox Jewish activist in 2014.
RT correspondent Paula Slier has visited one of the destroyed houses in the West bank and spoken with the father of a killed Palestinian militant.
“Netanyahu is in a hurry to destroy houses to satisfy the wishes of the settlers and his right-wing government,” he said.
“If Netanyahu reacts fast and destroys houses fast, people will be afraid of this happening to them and so he believes he will stop the Palestinian uprising. But he is wrong because people won’t stop protesting,” he added.
Tensions in the West Bank have been running particularly high since Thursday, when a Palestinian gunman killed a Jewish couple in their car. During the weekend, two Israelis were killed and three injured in two separate stabbing attacks in Jerusalem’s Old City. Access to the Old City was subsequently restricted for Palestinian men under 50 for two days.
Four Palestinian teens were killed in violent protests that have rocked the West Bank since then.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said on Monday that 499 Palestinian have been injured in clashes with Israeli IDF and police since Saturday.
On Monday, 39 were injured when a stand-off between Palestinian youths and the IDF in Ramallah turned violent, according to Palestinian media.
Palestinian youths have been burning tires, and throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli army, which has been responding with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is in a “fight to death” against Palestinian terror and called for tough new measures, including expedited demolition of the homes of Palestinian militants, increasing the number of security forces in Jerusalem and West bank, as well as broader use of detention without trial.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for international protection of the Palestinian state. He also said on Tuesday that he was trying to curb the escalation in violence.
“We tell them [the Israelis] that we do not want either military or security escalation,” Abbas said at a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as cited by Reuters. “All our instructions to our [security] agencies, our factions and our youth have been that we do not want escalation.”
Husam Zomlot of the Palestinian Commission for international relations accuses Israel and its policies of causing the current unrest. He believes the international community must intervene to help resolve the conflict.
“This whole thing is the product of an Israel government that has been setting the seeds for all this for many years,” Zomlot said.
“And the Palestinian people have been really patient taking all this and observing all this for years – their policies of segregation and land grab,” he continued, adding “The only solution is the intervention of the international community.”