Palestinian activists in the West Bank city of Nablus launched a fundraising campaign on Sunday to rebuild three homes belonging to terrorists that were demolished by Israel last month.
The drive, titled “The Campaign to Rebuild the Homes of the Free Men” and consisting of a large transparent money collection box placed in the central square of Nablus city, garnered over NIS 115,000 (some $30,000) by the end of the day, the Palestinian daily Al-Quds reported.
According to Israeli intelligence sources, the homes belonged to three members of a Hamas cell who opened fire on the car of Eitam and Naama Henkin, killing them in front of their four children on October 1 near the West Bank village of Beit Furik. The attack, which occurred at the beginning of the recent wave of violence, shocked many in its brutality.
Israel demolished the three homes in mid-November as part of its policy of deterring future attackers by destroying the homes of alleged terrorists. The policy is controversial internationally as it is deemed “collective punishment,” with rights groups saying it causes hardship for entire families. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, has defended the policy as “”one of the most efficient tools” for fighting terrorism.
In a report Sunday on Palestinian Authority TV, Nablus residents could be seen donating their cash to the campaign and expressing their support for the Palestinian cause. “This is our message to this usurping enemy; we are steadfast and standing shoulder to shoulder… with these heroes, prisoners and martyrs, who have had their houses destroyed by the occupation,” said one unidentified activist during the report.
The first phase of the fundraising campaign is scheduled to go on until this Thursday in Nablus’ Martyrs Square.
Organizers said that they aim to collect money either for the rebuilding of the homes or the purchasing of new ones, and a subsequent campaign will be launched to purchase furniture.
The three men held for the attack are now in Israeli prison. They told their interrogators that they carried out the attack as revenge for the fatal July 31 firebombing of the Dawabsha family in the West Bank village of Duma.