Prosecutor Questions Whether Report Advised Against Demolishing Homes

Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan surprised the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee yesterday by saying the Shani Committee report did not determine that razing the houses of terrorists was ineffective as a deterrent measure.

The Shani Committee report led to the 2005 decision by then-defense minister Shaul Mofaz and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon to end the destruction of terrorists' homes.

It was thought the Shani Committee report would be a major stumbling block in receiving High Court approval for demolishing the homes of the terrorists who carried out the attacks on the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva and last week's bulldozer attack in Jerusalem.

However, Nitzan claimed yesterday the committee's recommendations, led by former head of the IDF's Teleprocessing Branch, Major General Udi Shani, were based on a number of considerations: the drop in the number of terror attacks, international criticism and the continuing debate as to whether such demolitions were effective deterences. MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor), the chairman of the Interior Committee, announced he would ask Defense Minister Ehud Barak to provide the committee with the Shani report.

Attorney Avraham Kol Tuv, a relative of Bat-Sheva Unterman who was killed in last week's attack, told the Knesset committee "the fact that [the policeman] didn't make sure he was dead cost my relative's life. A man who goes on a killing spree loses his right to live. If [the policeman] had killed him, I wouldn't be sitting here." Kol Tuv went on to urge the government to demolish the home of Duwiyat's family as a deterrence measure, to prevent the deaths of more victims.