Since 1967, Israel has been demolishing the homes of Palestinians as part of its penal policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The military, relying on Regulation 119 of the Defense (Emergency) Regulations of the British Mandate, which grants broad discretionary powers, imposes this excessive and irrevocable punishment under an administrative decision. Concurrently, the military continues to demolish homes on various administrative claims and to implement its "razing" policy of uprooting fields and groves and demolishing homes for "security" reasons.
House demolitions constitute collective punishment, and are contrary to both international law and the basic precept of Israeli law that a person must not be punished for the acts of others. The demolition of houses does not replace criminal punishment but supplements it, and its chief victims are the occupants of the demolished house rather than the alleged perpetrator, who has mostly been imprisoned or killed.
The timeline illustrates Israel's arbitrary shifts of policy concerning house demolitions, implemented as if the OPT were its own private testing grounds and the human rights therein a plaything for the military. HaMoked deplores the fact that the High Court of Justice serves as a fig leaf for Israel's actions, and legitimizes the abuse of OPT residents and the violation of the rules of international law.
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