Israel: Homes of Palestinian Teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s Killers Needn't Be Demolished

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Yosef Chaim Ben-David, the primary suspect in the murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu-Khdeir, is led into a Jerusalem court, Israel, December 21, 2015.
Yosef Chaim Ben-David, the primary suspect in the murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu-Khdeir, is led into a Jerusalem court, Israel, December 21, 2015.Credit: Emil Salman

The state has told the High Court of Justice that the homes of the three murderers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the East Jerusalem teen who was beaten and burned to death two years ago, should not be demolished.

The government was responding to a petition to the court by the Abu Khdeir family. Before the Abu Khdeirs filed their petition two months ago, the Defense Ministry said there was no need to demolish the homes.

According to the state, the High Court has repeatedly ruled that terrorists’ homes are only demolished to create deterrence, which is necessary against Palestinians and East Jerusalem Arabs because of the sheer number of attacks.

“It is obvious that every incident of terrorism is unacceptable and we must act to prevent it, but we must not ignore the significant difference between the scope of terrorism carried out by Palestinians and Arabs from East Jerusalem, and the scope of terrorism carried out by Jews,” an attorney for the State Prosecutor’s Office told the court.

“And we must not ignore the consensus of social condemnation of terrorist acts in Israeli society.”

Mohammed Abu Khdeir, selfie, date unknown, published July 7, 2014.

The state presented data on the number of terrorist attacks to back up its case. It said that last year, Jewish assailants carried out 16 terrorist attacks against “minorities,” while so far this year that number had shrunk to two.

For now the criminal sanctions provide adequate deterrence, the state said.

In July 2014, 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was abducted from the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood Shoafat near his home by three Israeli Jews – two minors and 29-year-old Yosef Chaim Ben-David. He was driven to the Jerusalem Forest, where he was beaten and burned alive. The state has officially recognized him as a terror victim.

In May, Ben-David was sentenced to life in prison and an additional 20 years. He was convicted of murder, kidnapping for the purpose of murder and battery causing bodily harm after the court rejected his insanity plea.

His two accomplices were also convicted of murder. One was sentenced to life in prison and the other to 21 years. Each minor was also forced to pay the Abu Khdeir family 30,000 shekels ($7,700) in compensation.

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