On 12th November, the family home of Ragheb ‘Oleiwy was demolished in Nablus, in one of the first demolitions using explosives rather than the more time and cost-intensive use of bulldozers.
Ragheb, an engineer, was accused of killing two settlers on the road from Beit Forik near Nablus at the start of October 2015. He was kidnapped by the IDF from the Nablus Rafidia Hospital, after having had surgery on his hand. He has since been in an Israeli jail where he has not been allowed to contact his family, his lawyer or receive treatment for his still injured hand. As he is in a military jail he can be kept without trial for up to two years. The minimum sentence for the murder of settlers is two life sentences. His family were warned that their house would be demolished for Ragheb’s alleged crime but not told when. The family was given two days to appeal the military order to demolish their home, but their appeal was duly rejected.
On 12th November at 1am hundreds of IDF soldiers arrived in the Dahia neighbourhood in Nablus. They arrived on foot so as not to arouse suspicion or alert the family and they gave the family one minute to collect their belongings and leave the house. They then rounded up all the surrounding neighbours, barricaded them into one room and confiscated their phones so they were unable to communicate with others. Witnesses said this included 150 people aged seven days to 90 years who were contained in one large room guarded by the army and dogs.
The blast destroyed not only Ragheb’s house but also damaged neighbours’ properties, blasting the glass out of many of the windows, and damaging the structure of the whole building so Ragheb’s upstairs neighbours’ house (where three young children live with their parents) is also uninhabitable. As a result of the demolition 35 people are therefore now homeless. The family won’t have to pay the cost of the demolition because they live in Area A, which is under full Palestinian control.
This event was followed by further clashes in the local area, with live ammunition fired, and one Palestinian victim shot in the face. Two days following Ragheb’s home demolition, three further homes were demolished of others apparently linked to the shooting.
Not only was this done for an alleged crime with no trial, judge, nor jury but this barbaric act has directly affected 150 innocent people who haven’t even been accused of a crime. Even if this was a punishment proportionate to a convicted crime, under international law innocent families and neighbours should never be punished in this way.
– With thanks to a volunteer with Project Hope who met with the family to relay this news.