Hundreds of Palestinian families are struggling to put their lives back together after their homes and businesses were demolished by Israeli authorities, either as collective punishment for operations carried out by relatives against the Israeli occupation or as part of Israel’s plans to change the demographics in occupied territory.
The village of Thurmasiya, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, is home to many expat American-Palestinians, with many ostentatious double-storey villas dotting the rolling valleys and hills of the village.
But Israeli rights group B’Tselem, which said Israel had carried out hundreds of punitive home demotions over the years leaving thousands of Palestinians homeless, refutes this.
“The state has never presented any figures to prove that the demolitions do, in fact, deter Palestinians from carrying out attacks, nor has it ever been pressed to do so,” the rights group has stated.
“Without proof of efficacy, the utilitarian justification for such an extreme and injurious measure is lost. On the other hand, contradicting proof indicates that house demolitions have actually increased motivation among Palestinians to carry out attacks.”
No such punishment, which is against international law, applies to Israelis who have committed similar crimes against Palestinians.
Both Saneh and her mother were interrogated by the Israeli Shabak or domestic intelligence agency, but neither were treated harshly – probably due to their US citizenship and the American Embassy’s intervention.