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House of Palestinian on trial for murdering Israeli to be demolished

February 11, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Israeli security forces guard the area during a Palestinian home demolition at a farm in north of Jordan Valley in Tubas, West Bank on November 07, 2017 [Nedal Eshtayah / Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli army yesterday notified Kassem Shibli of the occupation’s intention to demolish his family’s house without providing compensation, a statement from Israeli officials reported. Shibli’s family has appealed against the decision.

The notice continues the increase of the number of Palestinians facing demolition threats while standing trial, after two of the accused, Yasan Majames and Walid Hanatasheh, were notified of the occupation’s intention to demolish their homes yesterday.

Shibli, Majames, and Hanatsheh are standing trial alongside Samer Arbid, and Abed Al-Razeq Faraj, who were indicted in December, over an incident on 23 August 2019 which resulted in the death of 17-year-old Israeli Rina Shnerb, severely injured her brother, Dvir, and lightly hurt her father, Eitan.

Shnerb was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated while the family was hiking to the Danny Spring in the West Bank, near the illegal Israel settlement of Dolev. In a statement, the Israeli army said the bomb was thought to have been planted ahead of time and was triggered remotely when the family approached.

Read: Palestinian teen killed by Israel forces during home demolition

The Israeli Army announced on 18 December the arrest of 50 Palestinians, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), in connection with Shnerb’s death. Five are standing trial, with officials reportedly now considering plans to demolish the homes of the fourth and fifth suspects, Arbid and Al-Razeq Faraj.

Israel does not allow demolished houses to be rebuilt and threatens to knock down any attempts to restore the residence. Human rights groups have repeatedly cautioned Israel for demolishing Palestinian homes in contravention of international legislation, but little has changed.

In July 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled against Palestinian families appealing against the demolition of 16 apartment buildings, home to more than 100 families. The Israeli government argued that the homes were “too close to the Israeli security wall”, despite having been constructed on Palestinian land, with permission from the Palestinian Authority.

The trial of five opened earlier this month in the Judea Military Court at Camp Ofer in the occupied West Bank, with the second hearing set for 17 February.

The trial is expected to bypass reports that Arbid, the supposed leader of the group, “almost died” during interrogation, after Israeli occupation forces allegedly beat him into a coma. The Palestinian was briefly hospitalised on 28 September but was later returned to interrogation, after the Supreme Court termed him a “serious security threat”.

An inquiry into the torture of Arbid was reportedly opened on 29 September, but the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) questioned the readiness of the Justice Ministry to prosecute the perpetrators.

Read: British government ‘seriously concerned’ over Israel’s demolition of Palestinian properties