High Court Cancels House Demolition of Accused Terrorist

israeli high court
Israeli High Court Judge Menny Mazuz. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s High Court intervened on Monday to cancel the demolition of the house of a Palestinian charged with the murder of an IDF soldier in June.

Nazmi Abu Bakr, 49, has confessed to the killing of 21-year-old Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, Hy”d, by throwing a brick at him during a military operation in the Palestinian village of Yabed.

In a split decision, the court ruled that only one room of the house should be sealed off, since the defendant’s wife and eight children live there and had no connection to the crime.

Justice Manni Mazuz wrote that the “the serious harm done to innocent family members cannot be ignored — those to whom no involvement in the attack is attributed.”

Justice George Kara concurred, saying that “justice will come to the attacker when he gets his punishment. But the consequences of his actions should not be cast on to those who have not sinned.”

Justice Yael Willner cast the dissenting vote, in line with the authorities’ belief that such punishment serves as a deterrent to future acts of terror. She also noted “the seriousness of the act… its fatal and serious consequence” as well as “the use made of the structure where the attack was carried out.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tweeted that the ruling was “a sad decision by the High Court that refused our request to destroy the home of the terrorist who killed IDF soldier Amit Ben-Ygal Hy”d, who was an only child.”

“I demand to hold an additional hearing with an expanded panel [of judges],” PM Netanyahu wrote. “My policy as prime minister is to destroy the homes of terrorists, and I intend to continue with it.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said: “Of course we’ll respect every High Court ruling but the verdict that cancelled the order to demolish the house of the terrorist… is very unfortunate. Destroying homes for deterrence is an important tool in the war against terror.”

Gantz said he instructed Defense Ministry officials to reach out to the attorney general to request another hearing.

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