Punishing Wives And Children

The Netanyahu government has decided to revive a policy – abandoned in 2005 – of razing the homes of Palestinians convicted of terrorism. In this case, the perpetrators were barbaric – killing three children and their parents in their sleep by cutting their throats. I certainly understand the impulse in the face of such evil. But I do not understand the rationale. The perpetrators are in jail; making their wives and children homeless by such an act of destruction is not, shall we say, conducive to peace, or allowed under Geneva Conventions (not that the US or Israel abide by those any more). The IDF is opposed. After the incident, violence did not erupt, mercifully. So why the brutality now?

With Israelis poised to go to the polls in September other critics accused Mr Barak of naked electioneering, suggesting that he had succumbed to pressure from the settler lobby to avenge the deaths.

Ah, yes, the settlers. More powerful than any Israeli prime minister or any American president.