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  • Wednesday 21st October 2020

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  • Israeli army razes home of five jailed Palestinian brothers

    The Israeli army has demolished a residential building owned by a Palestinian woman whose five sons have all been imprisoned by Israel.

    The building, owned by Latifa Abu Hmeid, is located in the Amari refugee camp near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

    According to an Anadolu news agency reporter based in the area, Israeli soldiers raided the camp early Saturday, surrounding the building before bringing it down in a controlled demolition.

    Before razing the four-storey structure, the army evicted dozens of journalists and solidarity activists who had been inside the building in a bid to prevent its destruction.

    The family house was completely destroyed in a controlled explosion, AFP news agency correspondents at the scene said.

    Neighbours said several hundred residents, including children, were ordered out of their homes and kept in a sports field in the cold night while the army operation continued.

    Following the demolition, confrontations broke out between local residents and Israeli troops, with the latter using tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition to disperse the crowds.

    At least 56 Palestinians have been injured in the protests against the demolition.

    Abu Hmeid’s five sons are all currently imprisoned in Israeli prisons.

    One of them, Islam, has been charged with killing a soldier by throwing a slab from a rooftop during an Israeli army raid in May in the Amari refugee camp.

    Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians who carry out attacks against Israelis.

    Abu Hmeid also had a sixth son, who was shot dead by Israeli army troops in 1994.

    Voicing defiance, Abu Hmeid told Anadolu that the building’s destruction “will not break our will”, vowing to rebuild the structure “as soon as possible”.

    “All my sons have been either martyred or imprisoned, and that didn’t break me,” she said.

    “This is the third time they’ve destroyed my home,” Abu Hmeid added.

    Saeb Erekat, Chief Palestinian Negotiator, told Al Jazeera from the Doha Forum event that this demolition could lead to more violence in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

    “This is a war crime by the government of the occupying authority … [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu is fully responsible with his government with the war crimes being committed against the Palestinian people,” Erekat said.

    “Einstein was once asked what is madness and he responded, by repeating the same experiences and experiments with the same tools and expecting different results.

    “Netanyahu believes that by demolishing homes, killing Palestinians he will get peace and security. He is pushing Palestinians and Israelis further and deeper into the cycle of violence and counterviolence; that’s the truth.”

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