US diplomats protest against Israel’s demolition of the West Bank Home | Voice of America
JERUSALEM – The Israeli army on Thursday demolished the home of a Palestinian-American who was convicted of murdering an Israeli citizen in a terrorist attack in May. The US embassy denounced the move, calling it “a unilateral measure that exacerbates tensions.”
Israeli troops placed explosives around Muntasar Shalabi’s house in the West Bank town of Turmus Ayya overnight on Tuesday and set off the explosives early Wednesday morning.
About 200 Palestinians threw stones at the soldiers who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
There were no reports of injuries. While Israel frequently demolishes the homes of Palestinians convicted of attacks on Israelis, this case is different for several reasons.
Like many residents of Turmus, Aya Shalabi is an American citizen and spends most of the year in the United States, not in the West Bank. In a statement, the US Embassy in Jerusalem denounced the demolition, calling on all parties to “refrain from unilateral measures that exacerbate tensions and undermine efforts to advance a two-state solution,” adding that “this includes certainly the punitive demolition of Palestinian houses. . ”
The statement said an entire family’s home should not be demolished for an individual’s actions.
Shalabi’s family had appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court against the demolition, saying he had spent most of the year in the United States and only came to the West Bank for one visit each summer. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal.
In addition, Shalabi, a father of seven, is estranged from his wife and stays in a separate room in the house when he visits her. An Israeli human rights group also appealed against the demolition, claiming Shalabi suffered from mental health issues and was prescribed antipsychotic medication.
The public prosecutor argued that Shalabi still owns the house and recently renovated it. He also said that providing a deterrent against future attacks is more important than what innocent people suffer.
Meanwhile, the World Bank said on Tuesday that repairing damage to the Gaza Strip caused by Israeli bombing during the May conflict between Israel and Gaza would cost $ 485 million over the next two years.