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The High Court of Justice rejected HaMoked's petition against the Israeli Military's decision to seal the home of the family of the person who carried out the attack at "Merkaz Harav" Yeshiva in March 2008: The court did not see fit to intervene in the decision to seal the house despite the Shani Committee’s recommendation to stop house demolitions for the purpose 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 Defense 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) in order to examine the use of Regulation 119 of the Defense (Emergency) Regulations – 1945, concluded that house demolitions did not deter but rather inflamed hatred and increased friction. 

On 6 November 2008, HaMoked petitioned against the decision to seal the family's house. The petitioners claimed that there was 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 in the Shani Committee's conclusions. HaMoked also claimed that Regulation 119 belongs to a different era, does not comply with the spirit of Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty and does not satisfy the limitations clause in the Law. 

It must be noted at this point that the main findings of the Shani Committee's report indicate that 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 becoming 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. Having examined all considerations, the committee recommended the cessation of the use 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! ! !" 

In its judgment, the HCJ rules that the Military's retraction of the Shani Committee's recommendations by way of the decision to seal the house does not warrant intervention in the Military Commander’s discretion. The court rules that the decision to seal the house must serve a suitable purpose , must be proportional and involve minimal injury to human rights. At the same time, the court rules that the use of Regulation 119 of the Defense (Emergency) Regulations, is justified, in light of the involvement of East Jerusalem residents in recent attacks. Justice Rubinstein also emphasizes that the decision to seal the house is not a vindictive act, which is prohibitied in a civilized country such as Israel, but rather a deterrent. Even if its usefulness is not entirely clear, the act does not warrant the court’s intervention in the Commander's discretion. 

HaMoked filed a request for an additional hearing on the petition. This request was also denied by the court on 6 January, 2009. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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