Israeli Army Issues Order to Demolish Homes of Hamas Cell Behind Henkin Murders

Eitam and Na’ama Henkin were murdered in drive-by shooting on October 1, with IDF arresting five members of Hamas' Nablus cell soon after.

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A Palestinian woman walks amid the rubble of a house after Israeli security forces demolished the homes of two convicted Palestinian terrorists in Jabal Mukkaber in East Jerusalem, October 6, 2015.
A Palestinian woman walks amid the rubble of a house after Israeli security forces demolished the homes of two convicted Palestinian terrorists in Jabal Mukkaber in East Jerusalem, October 6, 2015.Credit: AFP

The Israel Defense Forces has issued demolition orders for the homes of three terrorists from the Hamas cell that killed Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank two weeks ago.

IDF forces delivered the orders on Wednesday evening. The tenants have a short period of time in which they may file an appeal to the High Court of Justice before the demolition work begins. Army forces recently mapped out the houses in preparation for their demolition, as part of the resumption of the policy of razing terrorists’ family homes. The policy was reintroduced following the murder of police superintendent Baruch Mizrahi in another West Bank shooting attack in April 2014.

The Hamas cell that confessed to committing the October 1 attack, between the settlements of Itamar and Elon Moreh, was comprised of five people affiliated with the movement in Nablus. Three Palestinians were riding in the vehicle that was used to commit the attack – a driver and two gunmen. The IDF has not specified which of the cell members’ families received home demolition orders.

HaMoked, an Israeli based human rights organization that is representing the terrorists' families, announced that they would submit appeals on the families' behalf to fight the demolition orders.

Aside from the families of the three attackers who murdered the Henkins near Itamar, the military said they issued four other demolition orders to terrorists over the last month. HaMoked reported that they delivered a demolition notice to the attacker from Qalandiya who carried out an attack near the Dolev settlement last June, which killed Danny Golen. 

Demolition orders were also delivered to the families of two attackers who killed Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld in a drive by shooting attack near Shvut Rachel. Another demolition order was issued to Muhad Halabi's family in Sudra village near Ramallah. Halabi was responsible for perpetrating a terror attack on Hagai Street in Jerusalem's Old City, where he stabbed Nehemia Lavi and Aaron Bennett to death two weeks ago. 

Ten days ago, acting on orders from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF forces demolished the homes of two other Palestinian terrorists. The first house, in East Jerusalem, was the home of Mohammed Ja’abis, who committed the August 2014 bulldozer attack in which Avraham Walles was killed and seven other civilians injured. The second house belonged to Uday Abu Jamil, who, together with Ghassan Abu Jamil, committed the November 2014 terror attack on the Har Nof synagogue in which four worshippers were murdered and one policeman killed by terrorist gunfire. Another house, that of Muataz Hijazi, was sealed following his assassination attempt on Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick last year.

Following the two demolitions, the IDF spokesperson said, “The IDF will continue to carry out the orders of the politicians and will not hesitate to use any of the legal means at its disposal to hurt the terrorists and those who abet them in order to deter further terror attacks.”

The policy has been reintroduced despite an IDF committee previously finding that house demolitions do not necessarily deter attackers. In 2005, Haaretz reported that the committee, headed by Maj. Gen. Udi Shani (appointed by Ya’alon who was then chief of staff), concluded that house demolitions should cease being used as a deterrent measure. The committee noted that, except in relatively few cases, it did not provide effective deterrence and instead only generated more hatred and hostility.

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