Rights Lawyer: No Legal Precedent for Yitzhar Demolitions
Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir weighed in on the dramatic demolitions and rioting in Yitzhar on Tuesday, and noted that there is no legal precedent for the State to destroy homes in the small Samaria community.
"IDF forces have no legal precedent to exact its own 'price tag' on Yitzhar residents," Ben-Gvir stated, "but more than that, whoever ordered the demolition is not smart. Demolishing homes will only encourage and increase the likelihood of more 'price tag' attacks and certainly does nothing to calm the situation."
The tires of an IDF Colonel's jeep were slashed on Sunday night, in an act of 'price tag' vandalism linked with the IDF's destruction of a family of five's newly-built home in the community last week.
After a second jeep's tires were slashed on Monday night, the IDF declared that a "red line" had been crossed and that an investigation had been launched into the community; clashes erupted overnight between raid-weary residents overnight.
On Tuesday, police forces then entered Yitzhar and destroyed four homes - in a move which critics claim does nothing to solve the problem.
"This policy of destruction and collective punishment by authorities against residents of Yitzhar is outrageous," the Yitzhar community's statement reads. "It is unthinkable that the Israeli government and security forces demolished the homes of innocent people and took revenge due to the illegitimate 'price tag' actions of individuals, as serious as [these acts] are. We urge the security forces and their head to stop this policy and immediately stop the growing cycle of hostility."
MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home/Bayit Yehudi) agreed.
"Puncturing the tires of vehicles of IDF soldiers and commanders is a criminal act, and the spokesman for Yitzhar, which represents the majority of residents disapproved of it yesterday," Struk noted. "This does not justify in any way the declaration of war on the whole community because of the actions of some resident youths, especially when police know how and where to find them and bring them to justice, according to the law."
"Collective punishment and destruction of homes as vengeance has long been rejected as illegal by the High Court in relation to the terrorists, and there is no moral or legal justification to carry it out on civilians," Struk continued, noting that Yitzhar residents' "only crime is that criminal acts were carried out near their homes."