Rafah: More than 110 houses demolished, Israel vows to continue destruction
An Israeli human rights group on Sunday said that over the weekend, 116 Palestinian houses were demolished and more than 1,160 Palestinians were made homeless by Israeli troops in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.
The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) said that over the past three and a half years, the Israeli troops demolished some 1,800 homes in the Rafah Refugee Camp.
"Such massive destructions of civilian property are illegal under international humanitarian law," B'Tselem said in a press release issued following an investigation on demolishing houses in Rafah.
B'Tselem added that the death of Israeli soldiers cannot justify the severe harm to Palestinian civilians, who were not involved in the fightings.
It also called on Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to order an immediate halt to plans for further demolitions, the government to compensate families who lost their homes and to provide them with alternative housing.
These figures came on the same day as the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition by residents of the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip for a ban on further Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes.
Justice Eliahu Mazza on Friday issued an interim order temporarily barring the Israeli army from razing homes in the Camp.
Over the weekend, the Israeli army conducted a mass demolition of buildings in the Rafah refugee camp, destroying more than 110 homes and leaving more than 1,000 people homeless, in the city area of block “O” of the city refugee camp of Yibna.
On his part, Israel Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Moshe Ya'alon Ya'alon told the cabinet Sunday that the army was planning to destroy hundreds more Palestinian houses.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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