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Israel court halts razing of Palestinian homes

AFP , Friday 23 Oct 2015
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Israel's High Court has issued injunctions blocking the demolition of six West Bank homes belonging to Palestinians accused of killing Israelis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month pledged to expedite punitive house demolitions, as part of measures to combat a recent wave of Palestinian protests.

Since October 15, Israeli authorities have issued nine demolition orders for homes of suspected Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and occupied east Jerusalem.

The army had been set Thursday to demolish the homes of the alleged Palestinian killers of two Israelis shot in the occupied West Bank on October 1, as well as those accused of murdering two Israelis in June.

But following petitions by family members and neighbours, the court issued "temporary orders" preventing the structures from being demolished or confiscated.

Israeli rights group Hamoked, which filed the petitions, said a court hearing on the issue was set for October 29.

Home demolitions were "disproportionate and lacked balance between the alleged benefit of deterring potential assailants and the harm caused by demolishing the homes of entire families," Hamoked said.

Following the court's injunction, Netanyahu stressed home demolitions were "one of the most efficient tools" in discouraging Palestinian attacks, even in the case of suicide attackers, and expressed hope the court would rule on the issue as soon as possible.

The current wave of protests and repression started in late July when 18-month old toddler Ali Dawabsha was burned to death and three other Palestinians severely injured after their house in the occupied West Bank was set on fire by Israeli settlers.

The parents of the toddler, Riham and Saad, and their other son Ahmad, later lost their lives after suffering serious injuries in the arson.

Palestinians have also been protesting repeated illegal Israeli and Jewish settler attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the closing of the Muslim holy site to worshippers on numerous occasions. Protests have taken place in occupied East Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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