The administration of US President Joe Biden has said that it will ‘prioritize’ halting Israel’s policy of punitive home demolitions in what appeared to be its first confrontation with the new government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
“We attach a good deal of priority to this,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington on Thursday.
The comments come on the heels of the razing on Thursday morning of the home of the Palestinian-American Muntasir Shalabi.
My latest: The US embassy in #Israel issued a rare rebuke on Thursday after the IDF demolished the home of the Palestinian Shalabi family in the West Bank village of Turmis Ayya, a punitive measure the IDF has already admitted isn't a deterrent. https://t.co/Zi4OuxcU9b
— Morgan Artyukhina (@LavenderNRed) July 9, 2021
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had spoken to a “senior Israeli counterpart” prior to the demolition, Price said.
“The secretary and other senior officials here at the State Department in recent days have raised these concerns directly with senior Israeli officials and we will continue to do so as long as this practice continues,” Price said.
Within hours of the demolition, the US Embassy issued a condemnation. “The home of an entire family should not be demolished for the actions of one individual,” the embassy spokesperson said. Price later repeated the same statement.
— Free Malaysia Today (@fmtoday) July 8, 2021
The family’s case gained attention in the US because Shalabi, his wife and their seven children, three of whom live in the house and four of whom live in the US, all hold US citizenship.
A report released by Save the Children in June found that four out of five children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, whose homes have been demolished by Israeli authorities feel abandoned by the world.
Eighty percent of the consulted children said they lost faith in the ability of not just the international community but also the authorities and even their parents to help and protect them. They reported feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness about the future.
(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)