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UN official: Punitive demolition of Palestinian houses ‘inherently unjust’

November 18, 2015 at 10:43 am

A senior UN official yesterday described the Israeli policy of demolishing the houses of Palestinians who have allegedly committed crimes as “punitive demolitions” and said they are “form of collective penalty”, a statement said.

“Punitive demolitions are a form of collective penalty as they effectively punish not only the alleged perpetrators but also people (relatives, neighbours) for acts they have not individually committed,” Robert Piper, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said.

“Collective penalties are prohibited under international law,” he explained, adding: “Initial assessments indicate 20 people, including eight children, were rendered homeless by the demolition of the five homes.”

Piper said he was “distressed” by the reports of Israeli forces demolishing five homes in the governorates of Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah in the last few days.

In the statement, Piper noted that that two Palestinians were reportedly killed and nine others injured in clashes after protests erupted against the Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes.

He said that the UN “recognises Israel’s serious security challenges,” but insisted that “any law enforcement response must be consistent with international law.”

Piper stressed that “punitive demolitions are inherently unjust, punishing innocent people for the acts of others.”