The Dubious Demolition Policy Israel Just Can’t Quit

Israel’s practice of home demolition is controversial, and thus much-discussed, its origins aren’t as well known. It was first employed by the British in the Second Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902).
The British then imported the tactic into Palestine. In 1945, in response to guerilla attacks by both the Arab and Jewish undergrounds, the British instituted a policy that would allow the destruction of the homes of underground militants, whether Jewish or Arab. Interestingly, the British military never destroyed any Jewish homes.
Israel’s version of the demolition law started off somewhat different from the British policy. Israel permitted home destruction only when it was clear that the structure itself had been used in planning or executing the terrorist attack. Israel implemented the policy in 1967, but began using it more extensively with the outbreak of the First Intifada in 1987.
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