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11.4.2018

The High Court of Justice approved the punitive demolition of a family home of 7 people in the West Bank: the landlord is a disabled man living in Jordan

On April 10, 2018, the High Court of Justice (HCJ) rejected two petitions by HaMoked to cancel a punitive demolition order, issued on March 7, 2018, targeting the family home of one of the suspects in a fatal shooting in which an Israeli was killed on January 9, 2018, at the Jit junction in the West Bank.

Seven people live in the house – the suspect's parents and their children, two of whom are minors – none of whom are suspected of any involvement in the acts attributed to the suspect.

One of the petitions was filed on behalf of the family, who rents the house, and the second on behalf of the suspect's uncle, who lives in Jordan and is the property's owner.

HaMoked argued that in the present case, the precedent whereby a rented home of a suspect's family may be demolished if the landlord is related to the suspect, should not be applied. This given that the uncle who owns the house had been living in Jordan for years and did not maintain a relationship with the suspect. The court rejected this claim, ruling that "the familial proximity [between the tenant and the landlord] is very close". In regards to HaMoked's argument that the uncle would sustain disproportionate damage – given that he suffers from a physical disability which precludes him from working, making the income from the rent vital for his livelihood – the court ruled that, while this consideration was relevant to the decision whether to demolish the house, it did not tip the scale, "and is not a cause for intervention in the Respondents' decision".

It should be noted that the court addressed the harm to the suspect's family, ruling that "such harm is not an objective in and of itself. On its own, it even generates significant difficulty. But as a tool for the deterrence of future attackers, this is a lawful tool at the disposal of the military commander".

As in previous cases, the court rejected HaMoked's request to hold a substantive discussion before an expanded panel on the principled arguments against punitive home demolitions.

The court ordered the postponement of the demolition for one week from the date of the judgment, in order to give the family time to prepare for the demolition of their home.
mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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