Israel regularly demolishes Palestinians homes in what it says is to deter future violence. Human rights groups call this collective punishment.


Israeli forces demolished the home on Wednesday of a Palestinian suspect who fatally stabbed three Jewish residents of a nearby settlement as tensions soared last month over Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque compound, which also saw the death of seven Palestinians.

The military confirmed the demolition in the village of Kobar in the occupied West Bank.

Residents said that army vehicles and bulldozers entered the area north of Ramallah around 3:00 am (0000 GMT) and surrounded the two-storey house, one floor of which was still under construction.

Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians, calling it a deterrent against future violence.

However, human rights groups say it amounts to collective punishment, with family members forced to suffer for the acts of relatives.

In recent weeks, Israeli authorities also arrested the father, mother and three brothers of the 19 year-old attacker, Omar al Abed, according to villagers.

Israel suspects the family members  of having known of Abed's plans to carry out the attack and of failing to prevent it, Israeli media reported.

The Israeli army said the assailant had spoken of Al Aqsa and of dying as a martyr in a Facebook post.

He was shot while carrying out the attack and later arrested.

The July 21 attack came with tensions high over the highly sensitive mosque compound in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Human rights groups say the Israeli practice of demolishing homes of alleged Palestinian attackers amounts to collective punishment.
Human rights groups say the Israeli practice of demolishing homes of alleged Palestinian attackers amounts to collective punishment. (AP)

Al Aqsa tensions

Violence erupted in and around the compound last month after Israeli authorities installed metal detectors at the entrance to the holy site.

For nearly two weeks, worshippers refused to submit to the checks and held mass prayers and protests in surrounding streets.

Ensuing protests and clashes left seven Palestinians dead and over 100 injured. 

The stabbings of the Israelis at the settlement was carried out at the height of the tensions.

The crisis abated when Israel removed the detectors.

The Jerusalem holy site, which includes the revered Al Aqsa mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock, is the third-holiest in Islam and the most sacred for Jews.

Central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the compound is located in Occupied East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

Palestinians fear Israel will gradually seek to assert further control over it, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said repeatedly he is committed to the status quo.

Source: AFP