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Israel plans bizarre concrete punishment for Palestinian accused of killing soldier

Israel's highest court denied the military permission to demolish Abu Bakr's home [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 October, 2020

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Denied permission to demolish the home of a Palestinian accused of killing a soldier, the Israeli military now plans to pour concrete into his bedroom.
The Israeli military has taken the bizarre decision to pour concrete into the bedroom of a Palestinian man, suspected of killing a soldier, local media reported.

The Israeli military twice sought permission to demolish the family home of Nazmi Abu Bakr, who authorities accused of murder after he allegedly dropped a brick on the head of a soldier who later died.

Israel frequently razes the homes of Palestinians accused of harming or attempting to harm Israeli civilians or security forces, an action condemned by rights groups as a war crime in the form of collective punishment.

The Israeli High Court of Justice denied the military permission to demolish the Abu Bakr family home in this instance, however. 

Demolition would not be appropriate as his wife and eight children were not involved in any crime, the country's top court said.

The Israeli military now plans to pour concrete into the suspect's bedroom, i24 News reported, permenantly sealing access to that part of the house.

Abu Bakr, 49, was charged with murder in June this year over the death of soldier Amit Ben Ygal in Ya'bad in the northern West Bank.

Prosecutors claim Abu Bakr admitted to deliberately killing Ben Ygal, although the Palestinian and his lawyers have since stated he did not make any such a confession and "only meant to inflict wounds" on the soldier.

'An affront to justice'

Israel demolished more than 650 homes as punishment between 2001 and 2005, according to Israeli NGO B'tselem, halting the practice after a military review found the practice did not deter attacks. 

Israeli forces resumed the controversial practice of punitive home demolitions in 2014 as tensions rose over the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers and the subsequent murder of a Palestinian .

In July, a United Nations human rights expert condemned the practice.

"Since 1967, Israel has destroyed more than 2,000 Palestinian homes, designed to punish Palestinian families for acts some of their members may have committed, but they themselves did not," Michael Lynk said.

According to the UN special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, instead of serving to contain aggression, the demolitions further contribute to "an atmosphere of hate and vengeance".

"It is an affront to justice and the rule of law to see that such methods continue to be used in the 21st century and that Palestinians collectively continue to be punished for the actions of a few," Lynk said.

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