The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) has been accused by the international community, human right groups and by the Palestinian Authority several times of practicing collective punishment against the Palestinian people as an official policy.
Below is the full statement by PLO Secretary General Dr. Saeb Erekat on the collective punishment of the families of Palestinian martyrs.
“The Israeli government has approved the illegal collective punishment of the families of Palestinian martyrs in direct violation of international human rights and international humanitarian law.
The bill approves a long-standing illegal policy to allow Israeli occupying forces to forcibly exile and relocate Palestinian families from their homes in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the 1907 Hague Regulations.
We fervently condemn Israel’s actions and their continued targeting of Palestinian civilians.
The right-wing extremist Netanyahu government’s legitimization of their Apartheid regime through national legislation shows a complete disregard for human rights and demonstrates a systematic policy of subjugation and suppression of the Palestinian people.
Our leadership will not stand idly by while Israel continues to target our families, and the will of our people will not be broken.
We will continue to report all violations to the international community, whose responsibilities it is to support their obligations in favor of human rights.
We call upon the international community to come together and defend Palestinian inalienable rights.”
Demolitions of Palestinian houses occur not only to the families of Palestinians assailants who were killed by the IOF, but also under the pretext that the homes were constructed without permits, especially in occupied East Jerusalem.
When a Palestinian home is marked for demolition, the owner is forced to pay for the demolition of his own home or demolishes it himself to save some money.
After the house demolition, the Palestinian owners are forced off the remains of the property, thus this policy is viewed upon as a means of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.
Another policy that includes collective punishment by Israel is body confiscations. Palestinians accused of alleged attacks and are killed by the IOF have their bodies confiscated.
The Israeli government claims that this is because of a “security threat” against Israel.
Some of the bodies are kept in freezers at temperatures below 70 degrees, a temperature that can damage the remains. Other bodies are kept in the “numbers cemetery,” where their names are removed and they are given numbers.
At the beginning of March, a bill was formally submitted to the Israeli Knesset by Israeli Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) to deport the family members of Palestinian assailants who were killed by the IOF since October last year to the Gaza Strip.
The bill states that family members of Palestinians who helped commit the “act of terrorism” or who knew about it in advance, could lose their permanent residence status if they are residents of “sovereign Israel”, including occupied east Jerusalem, or be deported from the occupied West Bank.