All that’s left of the Shaludi family home is rubble. On one of the few remaining walls, scraps of baby-blue wallpaper with Mickey and Minnie Mouse floating on hot-hair balloons mark where the boys used to sleep. The crumbling wall of the girls’ room bears the word love, scrawled in a child’s hand but from right to left, as if in Arabic.
The tiny apartment sits in the poor and densely populated Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, a favela-like pile of homes near one of the most contested pieces of real estate on Earth: the Temple Mount. The Shaludi residence was blasted open here in November when Israeli authorities demolished it in retaliation for an attack perpetrated by the family’s eldest son, Abdel Rahman Shaludi. Last October, he rammed a car into a crowd of pedestrians in a different neighborhood of the city, killing a three-month-old girl and a young woman from Ecuador.
Punitive home demolitions were a token of Israeli policy against outbursts of Palestinian resistance for years, peaking during the Second Intifada of the early 2000s. But they all but stopped after 2005, when an Israeli military study found that the practice failed to serve as a meaningful deterrent to violence.