Tractor attack
Tractor attack Israel news photo: Flash 90

Homefront Commander Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan has decided, because of narcotic traces in a terrorist's blood, not to raze his home.

Ghassan Abu-Tir, 24, perpetrated Jerusalem's second tractor-terrorist attack two years ago, wounding 24 people before being shot and killed by a passerby. Soon afterwards, Israel's domestic intelligence agency, the Shabak (Israel Security Agency) submitted a request for court permission to raze the home of the terrorist, as is traditionally done following terrorist attacks. His family appealed, and the demolition order has now been rescinded.

Plowed into Bus and Cars
The attack occurred on July 22, 2008, just three weeks after a Palestinian terrorist tractor driver plowed into cars on downtown Jaffa Street and killed three Israelis. In this second attack, Abu-Tir plowed into a bus and several cars on King David Street, wounding 24 people. The publication of his name was originally censored by the authorities because of his family connection with orange-bearded and often imprisoned Hamas legislator Muhammed Abu-Tir.

One driver was able to escape from his car which had been plowed into a bus stop, though another man lost his leg as a result of the attack. The incident ended relatively quickly when civilian Yaki Asael, 56, father of eight from the Judean town of Susia shot him; a Border Guard policeman then finished off the job.

The terrorist's family claims that the attack was not of an anti-Israel terrorist nature, but was rather carried out under the influence of drugs, and that therefore the house should not be razed. "Traces of the amphetamine Ecstasy were found in Abu Tir's blood," his family wrote, "and he was apparently also under the influence of hashish before his death."

As a result, Golan wrote to the family, "Though there is a not-insignificant doubt regarding the claim that this was not a nationalistic attack, it has been decided, beyond the letter of the law, and in light of the fact that traces of drugs were found in his blood and urine, to refrain from issuing the demolition order."

The Shabak added its own explanation: "In light of the blood tests showing drug traces, and in light of the medical opinions that were received, and after consultations with the State Prosecution that indicated doubts as to whether the court could be convinced to approve the demolition order – the Shabak decided not to insist on its recommendation to destroy the house." The IDF issued a similar statement.

None of the official bodies related to one likely result of the decision, namely, that future terrorists may consume drugs, or traces thereof, before committing murderous attacks in order to prevent their homes from being destroyed.