Demolition policy has long been used by Israel to intimidate Palestinians and their families.
Israeli authorities have destroyed 1,000 Arab homes in the southern region of the Negev in 2014 alone, according to news reports on Monday.
“Israeli security institutions destroyed Arab houses in order to put pressure on Arabs to leave their lands,” said Usama al-Uqaibi, the head of the Islamic Movement in South Israel. “They destroy the Palestinians and their properties,” he added, according to the Turkish news agency Anadolu and the Middle East Monitor.
Israel has long had a demolition policy used to intimidate Palestinians and their families by destroying their homes. It was last officially in effect over a decade ago during the Second Intifada when, according to Israeli officials, it discouraged acts of “extremism,” such as suicide bombing, by threatening to retaliate against their families.
However, the Israeli defense minister stopped employing the policy as a means to address such actions in 2005, after violence receded and people began to question the legitimacy and efficacy of the demolitions, according to The New Republic.
According to Palestinian officials, the practice of demolitions have remained, particularly in towns across the Negev region. However the practice is being used instead to intimidate Arabs off what Israel considers to be its land, even though many Palestinians have been living there for over 60 years.
Al-Uqaibi said the Palestinians in Negev would continue their resistance against Israeli forces and remain on their land.
Demolitions were also used earlier this year after two Palestinian men entered a synagogue in Jerusalem and stabbed several worshipers. Though the assailants were killed by police at the scene of the crime, officials also demolished the homes of their families the next day. This has raised concerns that the controversial deterrence policy would officially resume.
At the beginning of the month, the Israeli Supreme Court heard arguments demanding an end to the demolitions, but it has yet to rule on the matter.
Tensions have increased again in the region after Israel broke a ceasefire agreement on Friday and fired into Gaza, reportedly hitting Hamas targets. Israeli officials said the airstrikes were in response to rockets launched from Gaza into an uninhabited region in the south of Israel.
On Monday, Israeli officials reported that more rockets were fired out of Gaza into the Mediterranean Sea.