A military committee appointed by the IDF Chief of Staff has recommended stopping the policy of punitive house demolitions.
This is more than three years after the start of the second intifada, and after hundreds of house demolitions – all representing collective punishment, all contrary to the Geneva Convention, and all known to be ineffective. More than a year ago an internal army study summing up the first 1,000 days of the conflict, said that not only was there no proof of the effectiveness of house demolitions as a deterrent, but that they even appeared to be counter-productive. And still it took another year for the IDF to “examine the policy”.
Note also that in 2004, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, 184 houses were demolished for punitive reasons, while 1609 were demolished either for permit violations or for “military purposes”, which generally means to clear space for settlements, bypass roads or army outposts. The announced change applies only to punitive demolitions.