Israel demolishes refugee camp home of alleged Palestinian attacker

Published On 8 Aug 2023

Israeli forces demolished the house of Abdelfattah Kharousheh, who was accused of an attack that killed two Israelis last February.

A man inspects the remains of a house which Israeli soldiers demolished at the Asker campA man inspects the remains of a house which Israeli soldiers demolished at the Asker camp.

According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, Israeli forces surrounded the third-floor home of Abdelfattah Kharousheh overnight on Tuesday and blew it up six hours after the raid.

The army had accused Kharousheh of shooting dead two settlers, Halel Menachem Yaniv and his brother Yagel Yaakov Yaniv, in February as they drove through the occupied West Bank town of Huwara.

Israeli forces killed Kharousheh, 49, during a raid the following month.

Before the demolition, Israeli soldiers forced at least 60 Palestinians – including 20 children – who lived next to the home of the Kharousheh family to leave their houses and briefly detained them inside a local mosque, according to Wafa.

Smoke billows as Israeli soldiers demolish a house at the Askar camp
Smoke billows as Israeli soldiers demolish a house at the Askar camp.

The latest raid sparked heavy confrontations between the Israeli army and the camp’s residents. The Palestinian Red Crescent said they dealt with 185 cases of tear gas suffocation, and that six Palestinians were wounded, including one by live ammunition.

In a statement, the Israeli military said several “violent riots were instigated which included rock hurling and tyre burning”.

“In addition, explosive devices were hurled, and live fire was shot at the forces, who responded with riot dispersal means.”

A few weeks earlier, Israeli forces took measurements of Kharousheh’s imprisoned son’s house in preparation for its demolition, on charges of helping his father in the operation.

Speaking to local media, Kharousheh’s wife said the demolition of the family home “will not break our resolve”.

“We are steadfast here despite all that the [Israeli] occupation does,” she said.

Askar refugee camp is one of the most overcrowded camps in the West Bank, with at least 30,000 Palestinians living on 0.12sq km (0.05sq miles).

Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians it accuses of deadly attacks on Israelis, arguing that such measures act as a deterrent.

Human rights activists say the policy amounts to collective punishment, as it can render non-fighters, including children, homeless.

In a statement on Tuesday, Hamas said the Israeli tactic of demolishing homes is “a policy of impotence that has proven its failure to quell the resistance and affect the morale of the resistance fighters and their struggling families”.

Since early last year, deadly violence has rocked the northern West Bank, in conjunction with the rise of Palestinian armed groups and an increase of Israeli military operations and near-nightly raids on Palestinian towns and cities.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed this year, with the United Nations warning that 2023 is on track to be the deadliest year for Palestinians since it began recording deaths.

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