Partial demolition of the terrorist's home
Partial demolition of the terrorist's homeReuters

Dan Landau, the father of Michal Salomon, whose husband Eyal was one of three members of the Salomon family murdered in the Neve Tzuf massacre, responded to news that the State opposed the full demolition of the terrorist’s home and advocated for demolishing only the first floor, on which the terrorist himself lived.

Army Radio reported this morning that the State informed the Supreme Court that it would suffice with demolishing the first floor of the terrorist's home, after a petition by the family of the victims had called for demolition of the entire house. The victims’ family had argued that five members of the terrorist's extended family, who also lived in the home, had already been convicted for failing to prevent the attack, even as they knew of their relative’s intentions.

Nevertheless, the State advised the Court that in its opinion, demolishing additional floors where the terrorist himself did not live should be avoided.

Regulation 119 of the Defense Regulations, by authority of which the State destroys terrorist's homes, explicitly permits confiscation and destruction of the entire building in which a terrorist lived, regardless of the part of the building in which he lived.

Over the years, however, Supreme Court justices have eroded the regulation's efficacy and ability to deter terrorism and imposed many restrictions on its practical implementation.

Recently, legal analysts identified a trend in which the State adopts narrow positions regarding terrorist home demolitions, as illustrated in this case.

“The demolition of homes and other punitive actions (such as revoking citizenship) are measures which professionals have declared to be significant deterrents,” Landau said. “It is shocking to think that there are those who are ready to give up on these deterrence measures in exchange for the chance of a terrible tragedy of the kind that we, and many other homes in Israel, have experienced.”

Landau said that demolishing the entire home of the terrorist “would be a life-saving step. Leaving the house as it is manifests another blow to the Salomon family, and more suffering in addition to that which already exists,” he emphasized.

Attorney Chaim Bleicher of the Honenu legal organization, which is representing the Salomon family in its petition, said that “over the years, in light of repeated petitions by organization that aid terrorists and their families, the Supreme Court has limited the tools of deterrence and the war against terror.”

“Despite this, the Supreme Court establishes in a number of petitions that the extent of a demolition depends upon the extent and severity of the attack. There is no doubt that the murder in Neve Tzuf was among the most serious attacks we have seen, and the State should have destroyed the terrorist’s entire home rather than hide behind weak arguments of ‘disconnection.’

“We hoped that the State representative would stand by us in the Supreme Court against harming the power of deterrence, but unfortunately, the State’s response shows a serious capitulation to the trend to emasculate deterrence in the war on terror. In the name of the victims of terror and the citizens of the state, we will continue to work to bolster the IDF's strength against terrorism in the sphere of the Supreme Court, as well," Bleicher promised.