Reports and Studies

Working Paper: House Demolitions and Collective Punishment, 31 October 2019

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2 December 2019

The policy of house demolitions has been used by the Israeli government since 1948 to seize lands, prevent the natural development of Palestinian communities, displace Palestinians, and transfer the people of Jerusalem further afield in the occupied territory. The use of this policy has been pervasive throughout the occupied Palestinian territory and is considered a form of collective punishment, as it is implemented with no legitimate legal justification to support the practice and entails severe penalties and harm to the civilian population. The practice of home demolitions serves to intimidate the protected population and hinder their ability to access or call for their fundamental rights, from the right to an adequate standard of living to the right to self-determination. Home demolition is a main tool in Israel’s separation and fragmentation policy that aims to maintain repression of, and domination over, the Palestinian people. In the Gaza Strip, the practice of home demolitions has taken various forms, including the razing of homes and other structures completely in the “buffer zone” and the mass bombing of homes during hostilities.