Israeli Forces Demolish Home of Alleged Palestinian Attacker

Israeli forces on Thursday have demolished the family home of a detained Palestinian-American man due to his alleged involvement in an armed attack that killed an Israeli and wounded two others in the occupied West Bank in May.

Muntasir Shalabi has been arrested and detained by Israeli authorities for his role in a drive-by shooting in the city of Nablus, killing an Israeli student named Yehuda Guetta and injuring two others.

The demolition was approved by Israel’s Supreme Court on June 23 after rejecting a petition by Shalabi’s estranged wife, Sanaa Shalabi, who has been living in the family home with their children.

In the petition, Sanaa said that she knew nothing about the attack. She also claimed that she has been estranged from her husband for several years and that he spent most of his time in Santa Fe, New Mexico. An Israeli rights group who represented Shalabi’s family also said that he had a history of mental illness.

However, the Supreme Court upheld the demolition order on grounds that Shalabi had lived in their house continuously from 2006-2012, before their estrangement, and had resided there for weeks before the fatal attack.

Authorities also noted that Shalabi’s family was not able to present sufficient evidence that would prove he had suffered from mental illness.

On Thursday, the military said the two-story villa in Turmus’ayya – a village where many Palestinian-American residents live – was leveled in a controlled explosion by Israeli forces.

Israeli officials said such demolitions were implemented to deter future Palestinian attacks.

However, several rights groups denounced the policy and described it as a form of collective punishment.

The U.S. State Department also called on the Israeli government to put an end to the punitive home demolitions.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy said that it has been following reports of the Shalabi family’s home demolition and urged that all sides must “refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution, this certainly includes the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes.”

“As we stated numerous times, the home of an entire family should not be demolished for the actions of one individual,” it said.

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