Jerusalem24 – A large convoy of over 40 Israeli military vehicles invaded Ramallah around 11 PM last night, in order to carry out the punitive demolition of the family home of detainee Islam Faroukh, suspected of carrying out twin bombing attacks in Jerusalem last November which killed an Israeli man and teenager.
The army deployed along all the main arteries and blocked the entrances to the old city of Ramallah, and deployed snipers to the rooftops of buildings. Surveillance drones could be heard throughout Ramallah during the seven-hour invasion.
Confrontations with residents throwing rocks at the army took place throughout the night, with the army firing live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, and tear gas and sound bombs.
“We woke up at 11.30 with the noise and didn’t sleep after that,” one resident, who was making her way to work through streets littered with debris and makeshift roadblocks set up by residents, told Jerusalem24. “We saw at least 25 military trucks go by, plus all the youth that were in the street, it was unbelievable. They only left a little while ago.”
The army injured at least 18 Palestinians including two journalists, with most of the injuries incurred by live ammunition. At least one of the injured was in critical condition. Dozens also required treatment for tear gas inhalation.
Journalists shot on the job
Journalists Momen Samreen and Rabea Mounir were both shot with rubber-coated metal bullets during their coverage of events, Samreen in the head and Mounir in the abdomen.
Samreen suffered a skull fracture resulting in minor bleeding in the brain and causing a concussion and memory loss. His condition has now stabilized, according to neurosurgery specialist and consultant, Fadi Al-Batran.
Israel has killed 55 journalists in Palestine since the year 2000, according to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate.
A carpet of debris
The army blew up the 250 square meter Faroukh home just after dawn, before beginning to retreat from the city around 6 AM.
The explosion, which fully destroyed the first floor of the four-storey residential building in which the Faroukh family lived, covered the surrounding streets and homes with a carpet of dust and debris.
Windows were blown out in nearby buildings, including an hold heritage house immediately adjacent to the Faroukh home.
Dozens of nearby residents were forced to evacuate their homes in the middle of the night before the explosion, and the Palestinian Civil Defense will have to assess their homes for structural damage before they are allowed to return.
Numerous human rights organizations have stated that Israel’s use of punitive demolitions contravenes international law as it constitutes a form of collective punishment, in contravention of Hague regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Between 1967 and 2014, at least 1,523 punitive home demolitions were carried out by Israeli forces in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza – though the real number may be as high as 6,130.
Another punitive demolition on the horizon
The army also invaded Aqbet Jaber refugee camp in Jericho overnight, and issued a notice to the family of detainee Maher Shloun that their house is also to be punitively demolished.
44-year-old Shloun, whom Israel suspects of carrying out a shooting attack which killed an American-Israeli settler near Jericho in February, was arrested in March along with four family members during a military raid in which the army killed a 21-year-old passerby and used twin toddlers as human shields.
The demolition notice issued to the Shloun family, signed by commander of the Israeli army’s Central Command, Yehuda Fuchs, reads: “This measure is being taken […] in order to deter potential terrorists from carrying out terrorist operations and in order to preserve peace in the region.”Confrontations broke out between residents and the army during the invasion, but no injuries were reported.