Justice Yitzhak Amit
Justice Yitzhak AmitYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Supreme Court Justice Yitzhak Amit responded to a petition against the policy of demolishing the homes of terrorists by stating that such demolitions do not constitute revenge or ethnic cleansing, but are part of the State's duty to protect its citizens and deter terrorists who seek to murder innocent Israelis, Kan News correspondent Amos Shapira reported.

Justice Amit wrote the statement in a Supreme Court ruling over the weekend which authorized the IDF to destroy the apartments of the two terrorists who two and a half months ago murdered kindergarten teacher Batsheva Nigri in front of her daughter.

The terrorists and their families, together with the Center for the Defense of the Individual, filed the petition against the demolition. Justices Yitzhak Amit and Ofer Grosskopf rejected the petition and gave the families of the terrorists a week to evacuate. Justice Khaled Kabub wrote the minority opinion accepting the petition.

Justice Amit strongly responded to one of the arguments put forward by the petitioners, according to which the execution of the demolition order is "an act of revenge and an illegal action against the innocent protected residents, which amounts to a war crime and ethnic cleansing."

"A closing note: The petitioners opened their petition by quoting the definition of the term "Ethnic Cleansing" from a UN Security Council report from 1992, as a preface to their claim that the exercise of the respondent's authority by virtue of Regulation 119 amounts to 'ethnic cleansing'. This claim cannot be tolerated, and the astonishing ease with which this term is used must be condemned," he wrote.

"Let it therefore be said loud and clear: there is no connection between the demolition of the houses of terrorists who carried out a murderous terrorist attack in which innocents were murdered, and 'ethnic cleansing.' The authority of the military commander to act by virtue of Regulation 119 was confirmed by this court once before. This court came back and made it clear that the purpose of the regulation is a proper purpose of deterrence; that its use does not amount to collective punishment; and that its application is by necessity justified in the face of the harsh reality and deadly waves of terrorism that the State of Israel is forced to deal with," he added.

"Here indeed, it is not 'revenge', as the petitioners put it, that underlies the exercise of the respondent's authority, but rather the duty of the State to protect its citizens and deter potential terrorists who seek to kill innocent Israelis. This was true in the days leading up to the horrific terrorist attack that occurred on October 7, 2023, and all the moreso after it," wrote Amit.