Middle East Monitor / August 30, 2023
Amnesty International has condemned Israel’s “punitive” demolition of Palestinian child detainee’s home, stressing he is being punished for a fault he did not commit.
In a report issued on Friday, the rights group said that the Israeli Supreme Court had approved “the punitive demolition of the family home of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who has spent the past six months in pre-trial detention on unfair charges.”
“In February 2023, Mohammed Zalabani stabbed an Israeli border police officer on a bus at a checkpoint in the Shu’afat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem. He was overpowered, but moments later a private Israeli security guard accidentally shot the officer dead.”
According to Amnesty, the autopsy confirmed that the Israeli officer was not killed by the Palestinian child, who was charged with his murder, and is now awaiting trial in a juvenile facility.
Following the incident, the Israeli military ordered “the punitive demolition of the third-floor apartment in Shu’afat where Mohammed Zalabani’s parents and three siblings – one of whom is just a toddler – live.”
Israeli human rights organization HaMoked filed a petition against the order, but the Supreme Court rejected it, Amnesty said.
“Israel’s punitive demolitions are a form of unlawful collective punishment, which constitute a war crime and a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” Khulood Badawi, Amnesty International’s regional campaigner on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said.
The Israeli ruling to demolish the house of Zalabani’s family, Badawi said, “shows how Israel’s brazen contempt for international law runs through every institution. It is also a reminder of the Supreme Court’s role in enforcing apartheid against Palestinians.”