High Court Freezes Demolition of Seven Terrorists' Homes

Court says the petition by the families of the terrorists must be heard before home demolitions can take place.

Israeli soldiers demolish the apartment of Palestinian terrorist Maher al-Hashlamoun in Hebron, October 20, 2015.
Reuters

The High Court of Justice froze the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who murdered five Israelis, which were scheduled for today. The families of the terrorists petitioned the High Court and Justice Uzi Vogelman issued an interim order forbidding the home demolitions until the court hears the petitions.

Vogelman ordered the state to respond to the petition within five days, by October 27, in order to allow an urgent hearing on the matter before a panel of justices.

Nine petitions were filed with the High Court against demolitions by the families and neighbors, with the aid of the HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual.  

HaMoked filed a separate objection against a demolition order for the home of the terrorist who murdered two people in the Old City of Jerusalem, and if this request is not accepted, the organization says it will also appeal the decision to the High Court. 

The seven murdered Israelis involved are Danny Gonen, Malachi Rosenfeld, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, Aharon Bennett, and Eitam and Naama Henkin.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response that he wanted to make it clear the government has a policy of making terrorists who die in suicide attacks pay a price too.

As for home demolitions, Netanyahu said: "This is one of the most effective tools. Our problem is the lack of connection between the act and the results of the act. That is why people want to explicitly want to minimize the time and I also hope the High Court of Justice will decide as quickly as possible."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said: "When people are murdered in the streets, the High Court of Justice cannot use procedure in order to delay the war against terror." The Supreme Court must pull itself together and make a quick decision about house demolitions, he added.

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon criticized the ministers and MKs who attacked the High Court  because of its decision to temporarily delay the demolitions of terrorists' homes; saying they are "lynching" the Supreme Court. "Whoever wants to run over the Supreme Court with a D-9 [bulldozer]  and was not rebuked, it is no surprise that they would allow themselves to continue to excoriate the court."

Last week, the IDF issued demolition orders for the houses of the seven terrorists who perpetrated attacks in recent months. Three of them are members of a five-man cell that carried out the attack earlier this month near Itamar in which Eitam and Na'ama Henkin were murdered. The cell's members were arrested the following day. The IDF did not specify whose houses it issued demolition orders against. Another demolition order was issued to the Qalandiya terrorist Mohammed Abu Shahin, who shot and killed Danny Gonen near Dolev last June.

Demolition orders were also ordered to the family homes of two of the perpetrators of the shooting attack near Shvut Rachel, in which Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld was killed, and another to the family of Muhannad Halabi who stabbed Nehemia Lavi and Aaron Bennett in Jerusalem's Old City two weeks ago.

On Tuesday, after receiving approval from the High Court, the IDF demolished the home of Maher Hashlamoun in Hebron. He killed an Israeli woman and wounded two others in the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut last year. Hashlamoun rammed his car into 25-year-old Dalia Lemkus in the West Bank and, when she didn’t die, stabbed her several times. Two other people were wounded in the attack. Hashlamon was shot and killed at the scene. He was indicted and convicted posthumously as part of the policy of deterrence. The IDF Spokesman's Office said that Tuesday's demolition was issued in accordance with the directives of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. "The demolition was carried out as part of the ongoing fight against terrorism, and constitutes a clear and deterrent message that participating in terrorism comes at a price," the spokesperson said.