A representative of the families who lost loved ones in last week's bulldozer attack in Jerusalem told the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee on Monday that the fact that police failed to immediately kill the perpetrator had cost a life that could have been spared.
Hussam Duwiyat, who killed three people in a stolen bulldozer in Jerusalem on Wednesday had been initially shot, but rallied despite his wounds, and launched a second rampage, taking the life of 33-year-old Bat-Sheva Unterman.
Avraham Kol Tuv, a relative of Unterman's, told the Knesset committee that "the fact that [the policeman] didn't make sure he was dead cost my relative's life. A man that goes on a killing spree loses his right to live. If [the policeman] had killed him, I wouldn't be sitting here."
Kol Tuv went on to urge the government to demolish the home of Duwiyat's family as a deterrence measure, to prevent the deaths of more victims.
Hassan Abu Asli, the community leader in Duwiyat's village, said during the Knesset hearing that the killing was not an ideological act, and asked that the government refrain from punishing his family and demolishing their home.
"I can't imagine this was a nationalistic act. It resulted from a malfunction in the head, or maybe something happened to him at work, or something personal. This is a man that dealt with drugs, women and petty theft. He is not a man that would perpetrate ideological murder. The fact is that no militant organization claimed responsibility for his act," he said.
Abu Salim also argued that Duwiyat's grandfather habitually went insane every summer and beat people in the streets. He suggested that the same "bug" had affected Duwiyat himself.
He went on to urge the government to refrain from demolishing the family's home, saying that doing so could spark further attacks. He also criticized the shooting of his relative, saying "they could have grabbed him by the ear and removed him from the bulldozer, or neutralized him by his hand or leg."
Abu Salim's remarks sparked a storm among the committee members. Committee Chairman Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) said: "Next time, we'll be sure to call you."
MK Moshe Kahlon (Likud) said: "You are inviting the next terror attack. When there is a bulldozer attack you confiscate the bulldozer and demolish the house."
Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan stressed that there was no specific ruling regarding the demolition of the homes of Duwiyat and Ala Abu Dhaim who gunned down eight people at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem in March. He said that the state's decision on the matter only constituted the beginning of a procedure.
Nitzan surprised the committee when he said that the Shani Committee report from 2005 recommended that terrorists' homes not be demolished - not because doing so failed to deter potential terrorists, but rather because the number of terror attacks had decreased, the international criticism the demolition drew and the ongoing debate over the effectiveness of the measure.
Former Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy said that it wasn't moral to make sure the perpetrator was dead. "Police officers neutralize. They don't confirm kills. The police officer made the right decision," he told the committee.
Levy added that the true hero of the incident was a policewoman, "A 22-year-old girl sees a bulldozer on a rampage. She decides to shoot the driver from 25 meters and hits him with two bullets." Levy added that after the terror cell responsible for the attacks in Moment Cafe; and at a Jerusalem university was apprehended, the homes of the cell members were either sealed off or blown up, and the measure had "proved itself."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now