IDF Demolishes Homes of Four Palestinians Who Killed Three Israelis

Demolitions follow High Court's rejection of families' appeals.

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Palestinians inspect the rubble of a Palestinian house that was demolished by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Nablus November 14, 2015.
Palestinians inspect the rubble of a Palestinian house that was demolished by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Nablus November 14, 2015. Credit: Reuters

The Israel Defense Forces demolished Saturday the homes of four Palestinians who killed three Israelis in two shooting attacks in the West Bank.

The demolition of the homes of four men who were involved in the fatal shooting of Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld in June and of Naama and Eitam Henkin in October went forward after the High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected appeals by the families and the Hamoked human rights organization. The court stayed the demolition of the home of a fifth man because it is a rented apartment and not an owner-occupied house.

In Silwad, north of Ramallah, IDF forces destroyed the home of Ma’ad Hamad, who on June 29 shot and killed Rosenfeld near the settlement of Alon Shvut and wounded three additional Israelis.

The Nablus homes of Kerem Razek, Yehye Haj Hamed and Samir Kousa, three members of the Hamas terrorist cell that shot and killed Naama and Eitam Henkin on October 1 near the settlement of Itamar, were also demolished early Saturday morning.

The High Court gave the family of Abdallah Ishaq, Ma’ad Hamad’s partner in Rosenfeld’s murder, until Tuesday to leave its rented apartment.

Speaking in the High Court on Thursday, court President Justice Miriam Naor, who headed the five-justice panel that deliberated on the appeal against the demolitions, said the purpose of destroying the homes of terrorists was deterrent rather than punitive. She called such demolitions “a rather harsh and difficult step, primarily because of the harm it causes the terrorist’s family, who sometimes did not assist him and did not know of his plans, but given [their] deterrent power,” they are sometimes unavoidable,” Naor said.

“When the acts attributed to the terrorist are particularly grave,” they may justify the use of the “extraordinary sanction of home demolition,” she said.

In October, Justice Uzi Vogelman stayed the demolitions until after the court heard the appeals, drawing condemnation from right-wing politicians and social media commenters. MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) accused Vogelman of “siding with the enemy” and eliminating the deterrent effect of demolishing terrorists’ homes. A security detail was assigned to Vogelman in the wake of the verbal attacks against him.

The High Court denied Hamoked’s request for a separate hearing to reconsider Israel’s home demolitions policy. Last year the court considered the issue and decided against a blanket prohibition of the practice.

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