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Home Demolitions in Nablus

Home Demolitions in Nablus

5-21-03 Nablus Last night in Nablus two homes were destroyed by the Israeli Occupation Forces. The destruction of these homes is in direct violation of Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Conventions, namely, "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited."

The Khilfe family house, home to 7 related families, was destroyed at around 4:15am. At 11:30pm, two jeeps and a large armored truck arrived at the Khilfe home. Approximately 15 soldiers, without ever producing legal orders for invading a family's home, or providing any reason for their presence, ordered the members of the family present [9 men, 6 women, and 4 children], and an international peace activist working with ISM, to leave the house, and proceeded to overturn the contents of the home.

During the 5 hours that Israeli Occupation Forces occupied the home, members of the family were forced to remain in the street. Among the family were several elderly men forced to remain in a squatting position for several hours, and a pregnant woman who became ill under the strain of the situation. The international peace activist present was able to assist in negotiating the provision of chairs for the elderly men, and access to an ambulance for the pregnant woman. After drilling holes in interior walls, and closing all of the doors and windows in the house, Israeli Occupation Forces detonated a large explosion that collapsed the rear external wall, destroyed the interior of the first floor, and entirely compromised the integrity of the Khilfe Family home. Simultaneously, the house of ? in the Old City of Nablus was similarly destroyed. The families were not permitted any time to remove any belongings: even the simple request to retrieve an identity card was denied. [Palestinians found without an identity card are subject to immediate arrest and detention.] The interior of the ? home is now a charred, black hole, and was still smoking when we arrived at 1pm to document these violations of the civilian population of Nablus. The 'home' in Palestine is the core of the family: to destroy a home on the basis of a single family member's actions is to shatter the lives of parents, aunts, uncles, children. It is important to note that: - these families, already grieving at the loss of a child or parent, are now rendered homeless - collective punishment is a violation of internationally recognized human rights law, to which Israel is signatory [4th Geneva Convention] - this is neither an act of defense nor one that increases Israeli security, but is purely a violent act of revenge, perpetrated against a civilian population, by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

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