U.S. Condemns ‘Punitive’ Demolition of Home of Palestinian Terrorist Who Killed Teenager

Masked militants from Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militia linked to the Fatah movement, hold their rifles and the Palestinian flag during a press conference to condemn the decision by U.S. President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Gaza City, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. A number of U.S. …
AP/Adel Hana

The U.S. on Wednesday condemned the Israeli military’s decision to demolish the home of a Palestinian-American terrorist, saying the act, which Israel says has proved to be a deterrent against future attacks, was a form of collective punishment.

The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday night demolished the home of Muntassir Shalabi, the terrorist with American citizenship who opened fire at a group of Israelis last month, killing a teenager and seriously wounding two others.

Hundreds of Palestinians came out to protest the demolition of Shalabi’s large family home in the affluent Arab town of Turmus Aya, near Ramallah. Protesters hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails and other explosive devices at IDF forces.

The family of Shalabi, who according to the Haaretz daily live mostly in the U.S., petitioned the Supreme Court against the demolition but were rejected.

The U.S. embassy called the act “punitive” in a statement following the demolition.

“We believe it is critical for all parties to 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,” the statement read.

“As we stated numerous times, the home of an entire family should not be demolished for the actions of one individual,” the statement said, adding that it could not comment further due to privacy consideration.

The demolition was initially delayed over concerns that it would harm U.S.-Israel relations. On Tuesday Israeli media reported the Biden administration had called on Israel’s Defense Ministry not to demolish his home, since he is an American citizen.

Shalabi, who was arrested three days after the attack after a manhunt tracked him down at a hideout in the Palestinian village of Silwad, was charged with intentional homicide, three counts of attempted homicide, using and possessing an unlicensed weapon, and obstruction of justice.

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