Court Prevents Demolition of Jerusalem Terrorist's Home

High Court of Justice temporarily prohibits IDF from demolishing house of Mercaz Harav yeshiva terrorist.

The High Court of Justice on Tuesday issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the Israel Defense Forces from demolishing the home of the terrorist who gunned down eight students at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem in March.

Attorney Andre Rosenthal petitioned the court on behalf of the terrorist's father, Hisham Hussein Abu Dhaim, arguing that the IDF Home Front Command was planning to demolish the second and third floors of a four-storey building owned by the terrorist's family in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood of East Jerusalem, and that the second floor was rented out to foreigners while the third floor was occupied by the terrorist, when he was alive, with his parents as well as his brother, who actually lives abroad.

The petition maintains that the Home Front Command failed to present the family with estimates on the strength of the building once the middle floors are knocked out as planned, and furthermore, the IDF has failed to prove that the terrorist belonged to an illegal militant organization, and therefore the possibility exists that the attack was not politically motivated, thus annulling the state's authority to demolish his home.

The Home Front Command did provide the Abu Dhaim family with the time to petition the court. They were given until Thursday to submit a petition.

Justice Salim Jubran instructed the Home Front Command to respond to the petition with 30 days, after which he will rule on how to advance. Jubran issued the temporary injunction prohibiting the demolition of the building for the time being.

Last month, Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the defense establishment to demolish the terrorist's home after a series of consultations with senior IDF officials, the Shin Bet security service and the police.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Barak have recently announced their support for the demolition of Jerusalem terrorists' homes after a string of terror attacks were perpetrated in the capital by residents of East Jerusalem. In recent years, Israel has refrained from demolishing homes in East Jerusalem.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has told Olmert and Barak that legally it was permissible to demolish terrorists' homes, but added that the issue is fraught with legal difficulties both locally and internationally.