JERUSALEM – Israel destroyed two homes on Monday of Palestinians involved in attacking and killing Israelis almost three months ago.
A large number of Israeli police personnel surrounded Jabal al-Mukaber neighborhood of East Jerusalem since early morning and proceeded to destroy homes for the Elyan and Abu Jamal families.
Bahaa Elyan and another person attacked Israelis on a bus near their neighborhood on October 13, killing two and wounding several others. Elyan was shot and killed while the second person was wounded and arrested.
On that same day, Ala Abu Jamal rammed his car belonging to an Israeli telephone company into a group of Israelis in a West Jerusalem neighborhood, killing one and injuring several others. He was shot and killed.
According to Elyan’s father, Mohammad Elyan, the Israeli police forced his family out of their three-story house sitting on a hill in Jabal al-Mukaber on a cold day as it proceeded to destroy it.
Unlike other demolition cases where Israeli forces use explosives to blow up houses of alleged Palestinian attackers, they used heavy equipment this time around to knock down the windows, causing gaping holes in the walls.
“They can destroy our house but they can’t destroy our spirit,” said Elyan as he watched the Israelis knocking down his house.
Not far from the Elyan residence, another Israeli force poured concrete into the first floor of the three-story Abu Jamal residence where Ala had lived with his wife and three children.
The Abu Jamal family was also forced to leave its house while the Israelis proceeded to seal with concrete Ala’s home.
The Israeli High Court gave the green light to destroy homes of Palestinians who attacked Israelis in the last three months in what it described as a “deterrent” move to prevent other Palestinians from carrying out similar acts.
Palestinians have waged knife and car ramming attacks against Israelis since early October in what some have referred to as the start of the third Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, against the Israeli occupation.
At least 130 Palestinians have been killed since then, more than two-third after attacking Israelis and the rest in clashes with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The death toll on the Israeli side due to Palestinian attacks is at least 20.
Israeli authorities have withheld the bodies of the Palestinian attackers and have only recently released the bodies of the West Bank attackers who were buried in mass funerals in their hometowns.
Israeli forces are still withholding bodies of 14 alleged Palestinians attackers from East Jerusalem, allowing their release only on the condition that they be buried at night in the presence of a handful of people.
The families have refused these demands, according to their representative, attorney Mohammad Mahmoud.
Mahmoud says the families want to bury their children in a proper manner and give them the funeral they deserve.