Israel destroys home of Palestinian accused of killing settler | Israelo-Palestinian conflict

Human rights groups regularly condemn Israel’s policy of home demolitions as collective punishment.

Clashes erupted when Israeli forces raided a village in the occupied West Bank and demolished the home of a Palestinian who they say killed an Israeli settler last December.

Using explosives, soldiers destroyed the house of Omar Jaradat on Saturday in the village of Silat al-Harithiya near the burning city of Jenin, according to an Israeli army statement.

Palestinians, mostly young men, threw stones and Molotov cocktails and soldiers responded with semi-automatic fire, he added.

At least three Palestinians were injured, Palestinian medical sources told Al Jazeera.

Jaradat’s apartment was on the first floor of a building. It was destroyed but the outer structure remained standing. The demolition came after an Israeli court rejected appeals by Jaradat’s family to leave their home alone.

Israel accuses Jaradat of being part of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad cell that shot dead an Israeli settler near the illegal settlement of Homesh last year. Two other Israelis were lightly injured in the shooting.

Israeli forces have already demolished other homes of members of Jaradat’s family in Silat al-Harithiya – two other suspects in the attack, Muhammad Jaradat and Ghaith Jaradat. These operations in February and March also led to clashes, during which the army shot dead a Palestinian teenager.

Israel routinely demolishes the homes of Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks, a policy that human rights groups and some Israeli defense officials say is ineffective, does not deter Palestinians from carrying out new attacks and constitutes an unjust act of collective punishment.

The clashes add to tensions in Israel and the West Bank as a large-scale manhunt continues for a Palestinian couple suspected of killing three Israelis in an ax attack Thursday night near Tel- Aviv.

A series of anti-Israeli attacks since March 22 have left dozens dead. Over the past month, Israeli forces and Palestinians have also clashed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Israel’s annexed Old City of Jerusalem.

Around 475,000 Israelis live in the West Bank in settlements considered illegal under international law, alongside 2.9 million Palestinians.

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