Israel Orders Demolition of Jerusalem Synagogue Attackers' Homes

Security authorities also order demolition of family homes of terrorists behind attacks on Jerusalem light rail and activist Yehuda Glick.

Emil Salman

Defense officials have issued demolition orders for the homes of four Palestinians who committed terror attacks in Jerusalem in the past month — two for the  synagogue attack this week, one for an attack on the light-rail system and one for  attempted assassination of a right-wing activist.

The families were told they had 48 hours to petition the move in court.

The orders follow a pledge by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step up home demolitions as a punitive measure for a wave of attacks, many of them by residents of East Jerusalem.

The policy drew heavy criticism in the past and has rarely been used in recent years, but Israel is resuming the practice after a nine-year hiatus in the hope of deterring potential attackers.

The families are those of Ghassan and Oday Abu Jamal, whose attack at a Jerusalem synagogue left five people dead; Ibrahim al-Akri, who drove his car into a light-rail stop earlier this month, killing two; and Muataz Hijazi, who tried to assassinate Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick last month.

Riots erupted in the Shoafat refugee camp on Wednesday when the police visited the Akris’ home to deliver the demolition order.

On Thursday, the High Court of Justice issued an interim order preventing the demolition of another home — that of the Ja’abis in East Jerusalem’s Jabal Mukkaber neighborhood — until a further ruling on the issue is handed down. In August, Mohammed Ja’abis used a construction vehicle to run over a pedestrian and hit a bus. The family’s petition against the demolition is to be heard on Monday.

Back on Wednesday, the security forces  demolished the home of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, who drove his car into a light-rail stop last month. At 4 A.M. police evacuated the building in East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, before the police,  Engineering Corps and Border Police set off explosives that destroyed the fourth-floor apartment. Neighbors said the demolition damaged other apartments nearby.

Shaludi killed Chaya Zissel Braun, 3 months old, and Karen Mosquera, a 22-year-old from Ecuador. Five others were injured in the attack. The Shaludi family says Abdel Rahman simply lost control of the car.

Hamas and other Palestinian organizations have praised Shaludi’s act as heroism against Israel, and some Silwan residents say Shaludi was linked to Hamas during and after his 14-month prison sentence on security-related offenses. But his cousin Abed al-Shaludi has said Abdel Rahman, 21, was not connected to Hamas or any political group.

On Thursday, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein considered the requests to demolish the five families’ homes and found no legal obstacle, based on the principles set by the High Court, the Justice Ministry said.

“Following this, one home has already been demolished, a final decision to demolish another has been made, and three homes are in various stages of the process,” the ministry said. “As for other homes whose demolition is being considered, the issue is still under legal examination.”