Israel's High Court Delays Decision on Demolition of Palestinian Terrorists' Homes

Court session disrupted by bereaved mother who accused judges of 'turning the victims into the accused.'

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.
AFP

The Supreme Court Thursday ordered the state to provide information about all home demolitions approved since 2013 that were not implemented immediately.

In the past, the court has criticized the state for making urgent requests for approval of demolitions but not carrying them out in a timely fashion.

The court’s order was issued during a hearing on petitions against the demolition of seven family homes belonging to Palestinians accused of terrorism.

The state has until today to provide the judges with the dates when approval was given, the dates of demolition and explanations of the timing of the demolitions.

The petitions are on hold pending the court’s decision. A temporary injunction against the demolitions was issued last week by Justice Uzi Vogelman.

The buildings in question are the family homes of the Palestinian men accused of murdering Danny Gonen, Malachi Rosenfeld, Nehemia Lavi, Aharon Bennett and Na’ama and Eitam Henkin.

Thursday's court session was disrupted by Gonen’s mother, who shouted at the judges, “You have turned the victims into the accused!”

Court president Miriam Naor cautioned her that “there is a limit to what a bereaved mother can say here. [You] will not use the right you have been given to apportion guilt.”

The mother responded by asking the court to “understand that there are families here whose lives have been destroyed, and not just walls [of homes slated for demolition].”

The petitions against the demolition of the homes, which was scheduled for last Thursday, were submitted by the Center for the Defense of the Individual, the families of the accused and neighbors who maintain that their homes will be damaged in the process.

Three of the homes are in Nablus, two in Silwad, north of Ramallah, and one in Qalandiya.

The prosecution argued in court that there was no validity to the claim that house demolitions do not deter terror. A new opinion from the security forces supports the argument that demolitions deter future terror attacks, the prosecution said.

Lawyers for the petitioners argued that the timetable demanded by the state did not enable them to represent their clients adequately. The families and their neighbors had been given just 48 hours to file their objections against the demolitions, the same amount of time needed to file a High Court appeal in the event of the objections being rejected, the lawyers said.

“The haste is a product of events on the ground,” responded the prosecution. It requested that the court not delay its judgment by more than 48 hours.

The IDF has not specified whose houses are slated for demolition.