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9.11.2008

HaMoked petitioned the HCJ against the military's decision to seal the home of the family of the person who carried out the attack at "Merkaz Harav" Yeshiva in March this year: In the course of handling the case, the Military Advocate General forwarded HaMoked a computer presentation of the main findings of the Shani Committee. The Committee was set up to reexamine the military's use of house demolitions. The Committee recommended the cessation of house demolitions for the purposes of deterrence

On 6 August 2008, GOC Home Front Command announced his intention to demolish the second and third floors of the four story building where the family of the person who carried out the attack at "Merkaz Harav" Yeshiva in March this year resides. HaMoked - Center for the Defence of the Individual filed an objection to the military's decision to demolish the house, and claimed, inter alia, that a military committee established in 2004 (the Shani Committee) which was set up to examine the use of Regulation 119 of the Defence (Emergency) Regulations – 1945, concluded that house demolitions did not deter but rather inflamed hatred and increased friction.

After requests HaMoked made to the Military Advocate General to receive the Shani Committee report went unanswered, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on 2 September 2008. In the petition, HaMoked requested both the report and the demolition plans. HaMoked argued that the Petitioner has a right to receive the findings of the military committee which examined the use of regulation 119 less than three years ago, mainly because these findings directly affected the military's decision to desist from house demolitions at the time. Following the petition, the military forwarded HaMoked a computer presentation of the main findings of the Shani Committee report. 

According to the document, the Committee's task was to perform a reevaluation of the use of house demolitions as a tool for "fighting terrorism" in an age where international law is increasingly valid and when Israel's position in the international community is highly important. The Committee discussed, among other things, the repercussions of house demolitions on the image of the military. Despite the fact that the Committee accepted the military's assumption that there is a connection between house demolitions and deterrence, it did note that deterrence should be seen as one consideration only. Having examined all considerations, the Committee recommended the cessation of house demolitions as a deterrent and noted that such demolitions did not stand the test of legitimacy. As the report noted: "The IDF […] cannot walk the line of legality and even more so that of legitimacy! ! !" 

On 6 November 2008, HaMoked filed a petition against the decision to use regulation 119 against the family's home and seal it. Among other things, the Petitioners claim that there is no cause to change Israel's policy on the cessation of house demolitions – a policy adopted in the framework of HCJ 7733/04 Nasser et. al v. IDF Commander in the West Bank and later with the Shani Committee conclusions. HaMoked also claims that regulation 119 belongs to a different era. It does not comply with the spirit of Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty nor with the limitations clause in the Law. Israel is not claiming that the persons living in the house had any connection to the actions of their relative. The Petitioner's only fault lies in being the father of the person who carried out the attack. Blood ties are not reason enough to seal two stories in the family's residence. HaMoked stresses that this is collective punishment which is forbidden under international humanitarian law. Worse yet, it is a measure which is designed to satisfy the demand for revenge among the Israeli public. 

To view the petition dated 6 November 2008

To view a copy of the Shani Committee Report presentation (Hebrew)

To view the demolition decision dated 6 August 2008 (Hebrew)

mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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