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The home was imploded by the Israel Defense Forces. Photo: AFP via Getty

The Biden administration has criticized the Israeli military's demolition of a home in the West Bank owned by the family of a Palestinian American accused of carrying out a terror attack in May.

Why it matters: This is the first time since the new Israeli government was formed that the Biden administration has criticized its actions in the West Bank.

The big picture: Israel has repeatedly demolished the homes of terror suspects in the West Bank, contending that it serves as a deterrent against future attacks.

  • In this case, the home belonged to Muntasir Shalabi, who stands accused of shooting three Israeli civilians who were waiting at a bus stop in the West Bank, one of whom died.
  • When the Israeli military started preparing for the demolition of the house several weeks ago, Shalabi's family appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that Shalabi spent most of his time in the U.S. while his wife and children lived in the home.
  • The judges rejected the appeal, citing Shalabi’s testimony that he owns the house and lived there two months every year.

Driving the news: The Israel Defense Forces demolished the home on Thursday, despite appeals from officials in the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem to their counterparts in the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the Prime Minister’s Office, Israeli officials say.

  • Shortly afterward, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy issued a critical statement calling on Israel to refrain from unilateral steps “that exacerbate tensions,” like the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes.

What they're saying: "As we stated numerous times, the home of an entire family should not be demolished for the actions of one individual," the embassy spokesperson said.

  • An official at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office responded, saying, "Bennett respects the Biden administration but takes decisions according to Israel's security considerations."

Worth noting: The demolition took place while a bipartisan delegation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee headed by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) is visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Go deeper

Oct 13, 2021 - World

Biden's new Iran dilemma

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Photo: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

The Biden administration is grappling with a new dilemma as nuclear negotiations with Iran remain frozen: whether more pressure on Iran would help push the Iranians back to the 2015 deal, or lead Iran to escalate its nuclear program, U.S. and Israeli officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The Iranian nuclear program has made significant advances in recent months that will be difficult to roll back — and that could potentially undercut the benefits of salvaging the 2015 accord, particularly if a deal isn’t reached soon.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

4 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.