Israeli Army Demolishes Home of Palestinian Indicted in Fatal Stabbing Attack

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The Israeli army tears down the home of Palestinian Khalil Dweikat, who is charged with murder of Rabbi Shay Ohayon, village of Rujib near Nablus, November 2, 2020.
The Israeli army tears down the home of Palestinian Khalil Dweikat, who is charged with murder of Rabbi Shay Ohayon, village of Rujib near Nablus, November 2, 2020. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

The Israeli army said on Monday its forces demolished overnight the home of a Palestinian man charged with the August murder of Rabbi Shay Ohayon in central Israel, which prosecutors say was an act of terrorism.

Clashes between the army and residents of Rujib, a village near the West Bank city of Nablus, erupted during the demolition.

Israel's High Court of Justice rejected in September a petition filed by Khalil Dweikat's family against the move.

Ohayon was the father of four children, aged four to 13.

Dweikat, 46, was indicted in September for murder under aggravated circumstances for fatally stabbing Ohayon.

The indictment also charged Dweikat with possession of a knife for the purpose of perpetrating terrorism.

Dweikat had an Israeli work permit and was employed at a construction site in central Israel. He is accused of “deciding to use a knife to kill an Israeli soldier or Jewish citizen 'for the sake of Palestine, the Palestinian people, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Allah.'"

According to the charges against him, Dweikat took a knife from the construction site kitchen and headed out in search of a victim. "After looking for a victim and an appropriate opportunity to carry out his attack plan for about an hour, [Dweikat] saw Rabbi Shay Ohayon walking near him down the street," the indictment says. He then allegedly "pulled out the knife from his pocket and stabbed the deceased three times."

Prosecutors requested that Dweikat remain in custody for the duration of his trial, citing his danger to the public "which is even more the case considering how throughout his interrogation, despite being asked explicitly, he did not express any empathy, remorse or regret about his victim or the victim’s family."

Under Israeli law, the army can demolish or confiscate buildings or land that it suspects have been used for terrorism-related offences. However, demolition orders have regularly been brought before the High Court, and the issue remains contested among justices.

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