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30.3.2020

The High Court of Justice approved the punitive demolition of a home during the coronavirus pandemic: HaMoked calls on the military not to implement this judgment at this time, as it could put the lives of the occupants and others in danger

On March 30, 2020, at the height of the coronavirus crisis, when the uniform guiding principle is that only urgent matters should be handled, the High Court of Justice opted to issue its judgment in HaMoked’s petition against the punitive demolition order targeting a family home in Kobar village in the West Bank. This was the home of a man indicted for carrying out an attack on August 23, 2019, in which Israeli Rina Shnerb was killed. Two of the building’s three stories were slated for demolition – the floor on which live the assailant’s parents and the basement floor.

HaMoked’s principled arguments regarding the illegality of the home demolition policy – constituting collective punishment of innocent people – were dismissed out of hand, as usual. The court approved the demolition of the floor on which live the assailant’s parents, despite the fact that no one claimed they knew in advance about their sons’ deed or were involved in it.

Regarding the basement floor, the court concluded that it was used for storing unused items and was partly owned by the aunt, who owns the ground floor apartment. Therefore, as the residential tie between the assailant and that floor was weak, the court ruled, the basement floor should not be demolished, based on the principle of proportionality.

Thus, the court legitimized making a family homeless, at this time of emergency when all people are required to stay at their homes to protect their health and lives.

HaMoked again calls on the military to freeze all aspects of the home demolition policy so long as the covid-19 pandemic continues. Using this prohibited measure at this time may endanger lives.

* The military demolished the floor on 11.5.2020. Excessive damage was caused during the demolition, including to the ground floor and to infrastructure in the village.
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