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High Court Rejects Petition Against Home Demolition

Court decision notes rise in attacks against Jews in Judea and Samaria in ruling, rejects claims of 'punishing the son for the father.'
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 7/1/2014, 12:36 PM

Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi Hy''d
Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi Hy''d
Police Spokesperson Unit

High Court justices Miriam Naor, Yoram Danziger and Uri Shoham rejected the petition filed by the family of terrorist Ziyad Awad against the demolition of the house in which he lived Tuesday. 

The judges took into account the overall security situation in Judea and Samaria in making the decision.

"According to the response of the the military commander of Judea and Samaria, there has been an ongoing trend over the past two years of considerable deterioration in the security situation," the ruling stated. "This is reflected in the number of attacks and Israeli casualties." 

According to data provided to the Court, since the beginning of 2014, about 96 terror attempts had been foiled, in addition to the police receiving more abduction threats than ever recorded. 

The judges also connected the case with the horrific abduction and murder of three yeshiva students announced Monday night. 

"Last night, after the hearing in the case before us, and after writing this judgment, we unfortunately learned that the three abducted boys were murdered," Justice Naor said. "Our hearts are with their families." 

For authorities to order the demolition of a home, said the ruling, it is sufficient to have administrative evidence indicating that a terrorist resides in it. "Against the backdrop of Awad's testimony, there is no reason to interfere in the decision of the military commander of Judea and Samaria to order the demolition of the house of Awad."

The justices also dismissed the idea that the ruling would hurt the terrorists' family.

"This is not the case of a family being punished unwillingly for 'sins of the father," the ruling said. The justices noted that Ziyad Awad's son Iz a-Din was  involvd "up to his neck" in carrying out the premeditated attack and that plaintiff number 2, the wife of Ziyad and mother of Iz a-Din, was well aware of the weapons being held in the home and of Awad's training in terrorism. 

Campaigning for deterrence

Baruch Mizrahi Hy"d was driving to Kiryat Arba for a Passover seder meal earlier this year, with his pregnant wife and three of his children, when the terrorist opened fire on the family car, killing Baruch. Mizrahi served as head of the Technology Division in the Sigint Unit, part of the Intelligence Brigade in the Investigations and Intelligence Branch of the police. 

Earlier Tuesday, Hadas Mizrahi took to the media to campaign for public support for the demolition of her husband's murderer, hours before the High Court ruling on a motion against the slated destruction. The murderer had been released from jail in the Shalit deal of 2011.

"Just as Gilad Shalit was a prisoner, and we wanted to see him released, redeeming captives [at the time] was important," Mizrahi stated, on a live interview on Channel 10 News. "But there is not enough deterrence."

"This is a warning: there must be a death sentence for terrorists who murder in cold blood," Mizrahi added. "This terrorist on the road, he saw a family with children, he shot Baruch to neutralize him, he shot me to neutralize me, he shot at our children." 

On Monday, widowed Hadas testified tearfully to the Court to protest the motion against the demolition. 

"We are talking about [national] suicide," she said. We are innocent people who are suffering. We were driving to the [Passover] Seder in our car when [the terrorist] shot at us, he hit Baruch in the head, I managed to hide our children."

"He ran away," she said, through tears. "What cruelty is this! We did nothing wrong, we were innocent."

Mizrahi warned that preventing the demolition from going through would be a missed opportunity to deter future terrorists.

"Maybe demolishing this house will be a deterrent," she cried. "I am crying to the State of Israel: take care of us. We are your people!"

Earlier this week, a different petition was filed against the home demolition in the High Court of Justice; the Court rejected the petition "in light of the current security situation" and cited concerns that terrorist Ziyad Awad - who also carried out the attack with his son's help - will kill again.

"[The terrorist was] released as part of a deal [which] was contingent on not engaging in any terrorist activity," the High Court noted. "Within a short time he returned to serious terrorism, which also included calling on [the populace] as an imam to carry out suicide attacks against Israeli targets."

The state also noted that the murder was premeditated, with several "practice sessions," and that the building had - in any case - been slated for demolition "for years" before the murder.