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Dear friends,

A basic principle of every modern legal system is that a person must not be punished for the deeds of another. Out of commitment to this principle, whose roots extend back to the Bible, HaMoked works against various forms of collective punishment that Israel employs against Palestinians. Chief among these are our efforts against punitive home demolitions. We are now facing a wave of such demolitions, in which entire families including children will lose their home following the alleged actions of one of their relatives. Our successes in these cases are few and partial – last week the High Court of Justice approved the punitive demolition of three out of four stories of a family home in Ya’bed village, and accepted our petition to prevent the demolition only with regards to the ground floor storage units. But we are committed to challenging each demolition, if only to restrain Israel from resuming the mass demolitions it employed in the past.

In March, we succeeded against another type of collective punishment: following a lethal attack against Israelis in the northern West Bank, the military blocked the only road to Al Mas'udiya, an isolated neighborhood of the village of Burqa. After we petitioned the High Court of Justice, the military removed the roadblock from the entryway, enabling the inhabitants of the neighborhood to finally resume their daily routine, and travel by car to stores, health clinics, schools and places of work, all several kilometers away from their homes.

In the past year, we also succeeded to halt an attempt to deny social security rights as a form of collective punishment. We represented seven families from East Jerusalem who were suddenly deprived of their national health insurance and social benefits following the violence in the city in May 2021. The National Insurance Institute reinstated benefits in all seven cases following HaMoked’s intervention. We filed freedom-of-information petitions to compel the NII to explain its conduct and in court, the NII admitted that the revocations had been based on classified information provided by the Israel Security Agency. Recently, under the Court’s order, the National Insurance Institute sent us its “investigation files” regarding six of the families – these showed categorically that no investigation had been conducted prior to the revocations, making it clear that social rights had been denied from entire families, including young children, due to the political activity of one family member.

Collective punishment is just one aspect of Israel’s oppression and discrimination against the Palestinian population. HaMoked will continue to fight against such injustices, and provide individual assistance and support to Palestinians struggling to realize their rights. 




Jessica Montell
Executive Director of HaMoked

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