Israeli Army Demolishes Home of Terrorist Who Killed Woman in Alon Shvut Last Year

Demolition comes week after Israel's top court approves seven new demolition orders of terrorists behind recent attacks.

REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma

The Israeli military demolished the Hebron home of a Palestinian who killed an Israeli woman and wounded two others in the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut last year.

The military says forces demolished the residence of Maher Hashlamoun early Tuesday.

Hashlamoun's wife told Palestinian radio that soldiers evacuated their three-story building and demolished the third-floor apartment where her family lived.

Last year, the 31-year-old 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.

In March, he was convicted of manslaughter and other crimes, the postmortem punishment for which, in this case, is demolishing the terrorist's home. The indictment explained that he had resolved to carry out crimes against Jews by running them over. If, and when, he did not succeed in killing them this way, he would pair the vehicular attack with stabbings. According to the Shin Bet security service, Hashlamoun, aged 31, was affiliated with Islamic Jihad. He was imprisoned in Israel from 2000 to 2005 for throwing a Molotov cocktail at an Israel Defense Forces patrol. 

An IDF Spokesperson 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.

The High Court approved the demolition of the terrorist's home last week. Justice Uzi Fogelman dissented, arguing that the costs of the punishment outweigh the benefits.

Last week, the security establishment issued demolition orders for the houses of 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.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner says the demolition "sends a clear message that there is a personal price to pay when you are involved in terror."

Last December, the High Court rejected a petition filed by the eight fundamental human rights organizations against the demolition of terrorists' homes. Justice Elyakim Rubinstein addressed the claim that house demolition is not a deterrent penal sanction, noting that the Supreme Court has already ruled on the issue.

In 2005, Haaretz reported that a military commission found that house demolitions weren’t a deterrent for terrorism. Under the tutelage of Moshe Ya'alon, who led the commission, Major General Udi Shani concluded that house demolitions are seldom an effective measure to take to discourage terrorism, and it often has a converse effect of fostering further hatred and hostility of Israel.

Israel has been suffering from a heightened wave of terror attacks since the beginning of October, when the Henkin couple was murdered. In this climate, escalated security measures have been taken in an attempt to curb the violence.