The Israeli forces at dawn Thursday knocked down the homes of the two prisoners Khaled and Muhammad Makhamreh in Hebron’s southern town of Yatta. The Israeli army troops cordoned off the family home of prisoner Khaled Makhamreh, who carried out a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv in June which killed four Israelis, sparking clashes with Palestinian locals.
Shortly afterwards, an Israeli army bulldozer started the demolition, reducing the home to mounds of rubble in the blink of an eye. The IOF further blew up the home of Khaled’s cousin, Muhammad, with bombs instilled in the building. Hundreds of Israeli occupation soldiers cordoned off Yatta’s residential neighborhoods before carrying out the demolitions.
Yatta residents said that hundreds of Israeli soldiers raided central Yatta and the al-Hileh area, the locations of the homes of Khalid and Muhammad Makhamreh, who have been held in Israeli custody since the attack.
Israeli bulldozers then demolished Khalid’s family’s house, while Muhammad’s family home was remotely detonated. A video released by the Israeli army shows bulldozers demolishing one house, while Israeli troops set up explosives in another, which was then detonated remotely, possibly by a drone.
Locals added that Israeli soldiers forced residents of both houses to evacuate before starting the demolition.
In late July, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the home demolition orders presented to the Makhamreh cousins’ families.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fast-tracked punitive home demolitions in an effort to “deter” attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals in the wake of a wave of violence that has swept across the West Bank since October.
Prisoners Makhamreh carried out an anti-occupation shooting attack in Tel Aviv on June 8, killing four Israeli settlers residing in illegal settlement outposts built in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled for the partial demolition of the family home of the slain Palestinian youth Muhammad al-Tarayreh, who carried out an anti-occupation stabbing in the illegal Kiryat Araba settlement last month.
The Israeli court ordered the demolition of the second floor of Tarayreh’s family home, paying no heed to an appeal filed by the family to cancel the demolition order. Muhammad Tarayreh was fatally shot by the Israeli occupation army following the anti-occupation attack.
While families who receive demolition orders are given the opportunity to appeal the measures, Israel’s High Court of Justice typically rejects such appeals, according to Israeli watchdog Hamoked.
Israeli rights group B’Tselem has meanwhile condemned the practice as “court-sanctioned revenge” carried out on family members who have not committed crimes, amounting to collective punishment and illegal under international law.
In the wake of the gun attack in Tel Aviv, sweeping punitive measures have been imposed in the occupied Palestinian territory, in what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein said “may amount to collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians in this very tense time.”
While “Israel has a human rights obligation to bring those responsible, to account for their crimes,” he continued, “the measures taken against the broader population punish not the perpetrators of the crime, but tens — maybe hundreds — of thousands of innocent Palestinians.”