Israeli Public Security Minister: We Should Consider Demolishing Homes of Israeli-Arab Terrorists

Gilad Erdan made the suggestion in the wake of Friday's killing at the Temple Mount of two policemen by Arab citizens of Israel

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, center, at a condolence visit on July 16, 2017 to the family of Advanced Staff Sgt. Hael Sathawi, one of two policemen killed in an attack at Jerusalem's Temple Mount two days earlier.
Gil Eliahu

Friday's terrorist attack at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, in which three Arab citizens of Israel killed two policemen, makes it necessary to again consider the need to demolish the homes of Arab terrorists who are Israeli citizens, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Sunday. In Friday's attack, three Israeli Arabs from Umm al-Fahm shot and killed two police officers and injured a third person.

“The decision over whether to demolish homes is linked to the question of whether the phenomenon [of terrorism] plays a central part in that community,” Erdan said in an interview with the Ynet website. “This is why the High Court of Justice thought it was not necessary to demolish the homes of Jewish terrorists, because it is not a widespread phenomenon that has support. The more we see calls for support for these terrorists and the greater the chance that others will follow them, the more we will need to consider demolishing their homes too,” said Erdan.

Israeli security forces have carried out the demolition of the homes of Palestinian terrorists on the argument that it serves as a deterrent against future attacks.

“Most of the [members of the] Arab public in Israel are ... law abiding and want the police to be active in their communities and protect their children from the violence raging in Arab society,” Erdan said. “At the same time, there are also extremist, violent, inciting forces there, such as Raed Salah and others, whom we are doing everything to outlaw.”

Salah was the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. The Israeli security cabinet outlawed the northern branch in November 2015. Salah was released in January from prison after serving nine months for incitement to violence and racism.Knesset member Esawi Freige (Meretz) said in response to Erdan's remarks: “Some people are pained by the events of last Friday, and there are others, such as [Public Security] Minister Gilad Erdan, who are exploiting them to sow more incitement and hatred.”

“Erdan, who has proven more than once that his mouth works faster than his brain, is now calling for consideration to demolish the homes of Israeli citizens. Where were those threats when Israelis burned a Palestinian youth to death or when an Israeli soldier murdered Muslim and Christian Israeli citizens in Shfaram in cold blood? You don’t fight hatred with discrimination,” said Freige, referring to the 2014 of the murder of an East Jerusalem teen, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, by Jews and a 2005 shooting spree by an Israeli soldier, Eden Natan-Zada.