Demolitions ‘will not weaken Palestinian resistance’ says leading politician

Update Demolitions ‘will not weaken Palestinian resistance’ says leading politician
Palestinians demonstrate as the Israeli army raids Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, June 8, 2023. (Reuters)
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Updated 09 June 2023

Demolitions ‘will not weaken Palestinian resistance’ says leading politician

Demolitions ‘will not weaken Palestinian resistance’ says leading politician
  • Mustafa Barghouti says Israel is repeating failed policies with destruction of house in Ramallah
  • Israeli security minister criticized after banning dental treatment for Palestinian prisoners

RAMALLAH: The Israeli army blew up the house of a Palestinian security prisoner in Ramallah in the West Bank at dawn on Thursday.

The family home of Islam Farroukh was in a four-floor residential building with an area of 250 square meters. The parents of the prisoner and his four sisters lived in the house.

Clashes erupted on Thursday after Israeli forces raided the old town of Ramallah in what the military said was an operation to demolish the house. Several people including two journalists were struck by bullets and affected by riot gas during the clashes. 

Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, said that the demolition policy was collective punishment and “a failed method used by the Israeli occupation since 1967 to deter the Palestinians from participating in the resistance. 

“The people have lost everything ... and therefore (this) will not deter them,” he told Arab News.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh promised to “rebuild every house destroyed by the occupation.”

“We will deal responsibly with the needs of families whose homes are demolished, and this is our responsibility towards our people,” he said.

He called the demolition a “heinous crime that turned a family overnight into a homeless family after demolishing its house. These collective punishments are an attempt by the occupation to break the morale of our people.

“What is being done is a complete reoccupation of the West Bank ... and it is quite clear that this government is ignoring any Palestinian sovereignty.”

Meanwhile, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has been criticized after depriving Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli prisons of the right to dental treatment.

Yasser Mezher, representative of the Islamic Jihad Movement in the Prisoners Committee of the National and Islamic Forces, described the decision as dangerous and disturbing.

Mezher said that Ben-Gvir's decision comes among the first recommendations he announced to clamp down on prisoners and not treat them inside Israeli prisons.

There are 730 sick Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, which have 4,900 prisoners in total.

Qadura Faris, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, told Arab News that Ben-Gvir’s step “is dangerous and constitutes a prelude to a series of sanctions he intends to implement against Palestinian prisoners.”

Faris said: “This is the beginning of more dangerous steps that Ben-Gvir will implement against our prisoners in the prisons of the occupation.”

He estimated that hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli prisons needed dental treatment, and that dozens use the dentist during the twice-monthly surgeries.

“There is no country in the world that claims that it is not responsible for feeding, treating, and providing all the humanitarian needs of its prisoners except Israel,” Faris said.

Barghouthi said that Ben-Gvir wanted to provoke the Palestinians in every possible way.

“This is not the first measure of abuse that Ben-Gvir has taken against Palestinian prisoners. He previously called for the death penalty to be carried out against them,” said Barghouti, who worked as a doctor before entering politics.

“Depriving prisoners of dental treatment may lead to serious health consequences that negatively affect the health of the heart and nervous system,” he added.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday condemned the Israeli Knesset’s approval of the preliminary reading of the “Acceptance Committees Law.”

The bill perpetuates the settlement and Judaization schemes in all Palestinian areas, the ministry said, adding that it would impose Israeli law on settlements in the West Bank “as an essential step toward consolidating its annexation.”

It called the bill as the latest in a long line of “racist and discriminatory colonial laws that deepen the apartheid regime against the Palestinians.”