Amnesty condemns an Israeli ruling for punishing a Palestinian child for an act he did not commit

Amnesty International has denounced an Israeli court’s decision to punitively demolish the family home of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who had spent the past six months in pre-trial detention on “unfair charges” for an act he did not commit.

The organization said that Israel’s punitive demolitions are “a form of unlawful collective punishment, which constitutes a war crime and a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Yesterday, Monday, the Israeli Supreme Court approved the demolition of the home of the family of the child, Muhammad al-Zalabani, despite a petition submitted by the Israeli human rights organization “HaMoked” against the demolition order issued by the Israeli army, but the Supreme Court refused to accept it.

In February 2023, Muhammad al-Zalabani stabbed an Israeli Border Police officer on a bus at a checkpoint at the entrance to the Shuafat Palestinian refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem. Although Muhammad al-Zalbani was under control, moments later an Israeli private security guard shot the officer by mistake, killing him.

The organization said that yesterday’s ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court “shows how Israel’s contempt for international law permeates all institutions,” and that it is “a reminder of the Supreme Court’s role in imposing the apartheid regime against the Palestinians.”

The organization added that despite an autopsy report confirming that the shooting killed the Border Police officer, Muhammad al-Zalabani has been charged with his murder and is now awaiting trial in a juvenile facility.

It is noteworthy that after the attack, the Israeli army ordered the punitive demolition of the third-floor apartment in which Muhammad al-Zalbani’s parents and three brothers lived, one of whom was a child who was still learning to walk.

The organization said, “Mohammed Al-Zalabani’s brothers and parents had no role in the attack, but they now face the possibility of losing their home and being displaced due to an act of revenge that is far from justice and the rule of law. Meanwhile, their son Mohammed, who is just a child, is detained and faces long-term punishment for a crime he did not commit.”

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