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The HCJ approves the punitive demolition of four homes in the West Bank: one home will be demolished completely; in three other homes only the top floor will be demolished, given the absence of a “residential link” between the assailants and the ground floors

On August 3, 2017, the High Court of Justice (HCJ), issued its judgments on HaMoked’s petitions to revoke the punitive demolition orders issued for four homes in the West Bank. The HCJ fully upheld the order for the demolition of a home in Silwad, but limited the scope of the demolition orders for three homes in Deir Abu Mash’al.

In its judgment on the three Deir Abu Mash’al homes, the court accepted HaMoked’s claim that in the absence of a “residential link” between the assailants and the ground floors, which are used for storage, these floors should not be demolished. Therefore, the court approved the demolition of top floors only, where the assailants’ families live.

In approving the demolition of the Silwad home, the court ruled that there is a clear “residential link” between the suspected offender and the targeted home, and dismissed HaMoked’s claim that the demolition decision was disproportionate, inter alia, given the fact the suspect was suffering from mental health problems. With respect to the argument that the demolition might jeopardize the stability of nearby structures, the court ruled that the military must comply with its own undertaking in its response to the petition, and demolish the home, “using mechanical engineering equipment… taking into account the risks of damaging homes in the vicinity and on the basis of a detailed engineering opinion”.

In this judgment, Justice Vogelman recalled his reservations about the prevailing case law on house demolitions, but reiterated that it can only be changed by an expanded panel of justices: “… although my position is different from the practiced judicial precedent, this precedent is binding until altered, insofar as this happens, by an expanded panel. Under the constraints of the existing precedent, it seems the petition must be dismissed”.

The judgments stipulate the demolitions shall be carried out not earlier than August 9, 2017, at noon, “in order to allow the petitioners time for removal and preparation”. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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