ProtectionThen there is Um Qassem’s beautiful three-storey home where generations of a very large family live. This famous case is different. Last September her 18 year-old son ran a BMW into a crowd of Israelis, mostly soldiers, injuring several. One of them shot him dead. It was deemed a terrorist attack by the IDF, and as a result the family got a ‘punishment’ demolition order. The family, however, insists it was a traffic accident, that the boy lost control of the car when the accelerator jammed. The race is on to have BMW experts prove it in court before their home becomes a pile of rubble. In other countries when a suspected terrorist is shot by security forces in public, (like Jean Charles de Menezes), the circumstances are investigated. The death of the Brazilian electrician produced an outcry in the UK. Not so in Israel. What’s more, home demolition is collective punishment: illegal under international law.

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