Israeli authorities said Monday that notices have been issued to several Palestinians warning them of a demolition drive in the West Bank. The move comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the resumption of the practice of destroying Palestinian homes following clashes over the Al Aqsa and Temple Mount compound.
The country’s military said that the demolition of several houses had been approved and the police have also marked several houses in the eastern part of Jerusalem for destruction or to seal them up, according to The Associated Press. Officials are currently awaiting a final nod from the government before beginning the demolition drive, the report said.
The controversial policy was scrapped nine years ago after local Israeli officials had questioned its effectiveness. However, last week, Israeli forces raided two houses in Hebron and Nablus, on suspicion that two Palestinians, to whom the houses belonged, were involved in attacks against Israelis, according to Wafa, a Palestinian news agency.
According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), more than 300,000 Palestinians have left the West Bank region and East Jerusalem in the past 10 years. Since 1967, nearly 27,000 Palestinian homes and other structures have been demolished by Israel. ICAHD also said that a reason for bringing down a house was given in only 2 percent of all demolitions.
ICAHD also cited the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that, under international law, it's illegal for an occupying power to mete out collective punishments, and, according to article 53 of the amendment: "Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons…is prohibited."
The latest hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians in the region flared up after Israel restricted entry into the Al Aqsa mosque -- the third holiest site in Islam -- that is located within the Temple Mount compound. Israel's move was triggered by an incident on Oct. 29 when American-born activist Yehuda Glick was shot and wounded at the site. However, last week, Israel announced that it had removed restrictions on entry into the mosque after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry intervened to defuse simmering tensions in the region.