In Response to Shootings, Israel Orders Retaliatory Home Demolitions of Uninvolved Palestinians

Adalah: the instructions of the National Security Minister are a form of collective punishment that violates Israeli and international law.

On 29 January 2023, Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, sent an urgent letter to Israel’s Attorney General and National Security Minister, demanding that they put an immediate stop to home demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem.


CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s letter 


On 28 January 2023, the National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, instructed police to demolish Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem that were built without a permit. The next day, 29 January, the Minister announced that “In accordance with my policy, police forces, in cooperation with the Jerusalem Municipality, began demolishing illegal houses in the east of the city this morning. We will fight terrorism with all the means at our disposal.” This is a retaliatory step in the wake of Friday’s shootings in the settlement of Neve Yaakov. 


In the letter, Adalah Legal Director Suhad Bishara argued that this is a form of collective punishment aimed at the entire Palestinian public living in East Jerusalem and violates Israeli law and international law. Adalah further argued that the context and timing of the Minister’s instruction to demolish houses make clear that this is a vindictive action and seeks to abuse the civilian population, living under occupation, in order to achieve political goals. 


Adalah emphasized that the unregulated construction in East Jerusalem is the direct result of Israel’s systematic discriminatory housing and planning policies, which have put in place severe obstacles for Palestinians seeking to obtain the building permits that are required under Israeli law. These policies exist to serve Israel's illegitimate political interests as an occupying power in the region. 


Moreover, Adalah argued that the National Security Minister does not possess the authority to instruct police to demolish homes built without a permit and thus, his instructions are illegal. Such punitive home demolitions also violate international law, including the Hague Convention and the Fourth Geneva Convention, which expressly prohibit the destruction of private property by an occupying power.

Read Adalah’s Analysis of the New Israeli Government’s Guiding Principles and Coalition Agreements and their Implications on Palestinians’ Rights


Photo by: Itamar Ben-Gvir’s official Twitter page