Smoke billows as the house of Palestinian shooter Mohammad Jabari, is demolished by Israeli forces in Hebron in the occupied West Bank early on February 16, 2023. AFP
A large unit of Israeli forces raided the occupied West Bank city of Hebron and surrounded the house of the Palestinian man, forcing dozens of families, including women and children, to leave their houses in the cold weather for hours.
The military said the demolition was carried out after an Israeli court rejected appeals to spare the residence. The home, in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, was demolished in a controlled explosion. A flash and then grey tufts of smoke were seen emerging from the apartment in the early morning hours.
Tel Aviv accuses Jabari of killing an Israeli man and wounding others outside the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba and says home demolitions are meant to deter future attackers but critics say they amount to collective punishment against the families of assailants only exacerbate tensions with Palestinians.
Israeli forces also demolished a shack and a barn in the village of al-Walaja, northwest of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.
The demolition comes as Israeli forces, detained 24 Palestinians, predawn Thursday, from various parts of the occupied West Bank, according to local and security sources.
These raids, which take place also in areas under the full control of the Palestinian Authority, are conducted with no need for a search warrant, whenever and wherever the military chooses in keeping with its sweeping arbitrary powers, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
Under Israeli military law army commanders have full executive, legislative and judicial authority over 3 million Palestinians living in the West Bank. Palestinians have no say in how this authority is exercised, the agency added.
According to the latest figures from Addameer, the Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, there are currently 4,780 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers, including 160 children and 29 female prisoners.
In this context, Israel has been conducting near-nightly arrest raids in the West Bank and east Jerusalem killing some 150 Palestinians last year, making it the deadliest year in those territories since 2004, according to Israeli rights group.
Nearly 50 Palestinians have been killed in occupied Palestinian territories just this year, a sign that the fighting has intensified in recent weeks, just as Israel's new, far-right government has risen to power. While reports say at least 11 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks this year.
Israel's new hardline government has promised to take a tough line against the Palestinians, and already has taken steps to ramp up West Bank settlement building.
Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for their future independent state.
*This story was edited by Ahram Online