Supreme Court postpones demolition of terrorists' homes
Security forces were supposed to demolish on Thursday the homes of the terrorists that murdered Naama and Eitam Henkin, Malachi Rosenfeld and Danny Gonen. The families of the murderers appealed to the Supreme Court, delaying the demolitions until the petitions have been investigated.
The Supreme Court delayed on Thursday the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who murdered Malachi Rosenfeld, Danny Gonen and Naama and Eitam Henkin.
The demolition had been slated for Thursday, but the families of the terrorists submitted petitions to the Supreme Court via the Center for the Defence of the Individual, an Israeli NGO.
The judge, Uzi Fogelman, issued a temporary order preventing the demolitions from taking place until the petitions have been investigated. The NGO submitted a total of nine petitions, requesting that the military be ordered to cancel demolition orders that had been issued against six residential dwellings in the West Bank.
Six petitions were submitted in the name of the families concerned, with the remaining three submitted in the name of their neighbors.
"This is a disproportionate means of punishment," the NGO said. "It lacks balance between the alleged benefit of deterring potential attacks and between the damage caused to entire families by the demolition of their homes."
The mother and brother of Muad Hamed, who was involved in the murder of Rosenfeld, claimed in the petition – submitted by lawyer Michal Pomerantz and the NGO – that Hamed has no connection to their house in Silwad. Another relative of Hamed claimed that he does not stay in the house often and that during the last three months he has been detained in prison in Betunia, at the hands of Palestinian security forces.
At the same time, two brothers of Munir Anaam, who was also involved in Rosenfeld's murder, claimed that their apartment in Silwad is also due to have the last floor out of eight storeys demolished.
They also claimed in their petition to the Supreme Court that they rent the apartment concerned, at a cost of $200 per month. Anaam was arrested by security forces and indicted.
Another home slated for demolition is that of Samir Kusah, who is suspected of involvment in the murder of the Henkin couple. A petition was submitted by his wife, Walaa Kusah, claiming that the apartment is located on the ground floor of a three-storey building and that she lives there with her three children, aged five, eight and nine.
An additional house is that of Karam Lutfi Fathi Razaq in Nablus. Razaq was recently arrested. He and his parents claim that they live on the middle floor of a three-storey building.
A further house due to be demolished is that of Ashraf Amar, who was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Danny Gonen. His house is in Qalandia refugee camp.
Minister Zeev Elkin, a member of the security cabinet, responded to the court's decision.
"I call on the Supreme Court not to drag its feet and to immediately instate the decisions regarding the demolition of terrorists' homes that they prevented today," Elkin said.
"The Supreme Court judges also need to understand that we are at war with terror. A democracy that does not know how to protect itself cannot win such a war," he continued.
"Creating deterrence and stopping the next attack via home demolitions is an imperative and the Supreme Court cannot put the brakes on the cabinet's decision."
Naftali Bennett, Education Minister and head of the Bayit Yehudi party, said that the country is in "an hour of emergency and the time has come for the Supreme Court to understand that.
"When people are being murdered in the street, the Supreme Court cannot wave procedures around in order to delay the war against terror," Bennett continued.
"The court has to understand that every delay to the demolition of a terrorist's home harms Israel's deterrence and endangers people's lives.
"I call on the Supreme Court to get itself together and make a quick decision regarding home demolitions," he added.
Warning notices for the demolitions of the terrorists' homes were already issued last week. However, the government has not yet fulfilled its promise to carry out the orders. During one recent cabinet meeting, ministers discovered that Israel has still not demolished the houses of the terrorists that murdered the Fogel family in March 2011, despite the recommendations of the security establishment.
Ministers in the security cabinet recently claimed that the judicial system is creating problems. They also asserted that there are some in the government who are trying to stall the demolitions in order to avoid drawing the ire of the international community.