High Court freezes home demolition of Ansbacher killer for 48 hours

The court's decision is standard procedure, which gives both sides of the case time to argue their positions.

April 2, 2019 09:48
2 minute read.
Arafat Irfaiya, Ori Ansbacher's murderer, brought to court

Arafat Irfaiya, Ori Ansbacher's murderer, brought to court. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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The High Court of Justice has temporarily frozen the demolition of the house of the family of the alleged murderer of Ori Ansbacher pending hearing arguments by the sides, it was announced on Monday.

The court decision, handed down Sunday, gave the sides 48 hours to respond following a petition by Arafat Irfaiya’s family against the demolition.

Responding to the court’s decision, a range of right-wing groups attacked the court for intervening as if it had actually rejected the demolition.

In fact, the court’s freezing the order was standard procedure for hearing out parties when someone files a petition.
The order was not even a temporary freeze order following a hearing in which the court sometimes might express doubt about the order.

Rather, there is no specific reason to date to expect the court may not approve the order once it hears the sides’ arguments – since the court approves the vast majority of demolition orders.

It appeared that the degree of anger directed at the court for a standard procedural ruling was a combination of election season as well as frustration that, under current law, house demolition processes for terrorist homes cannot almost ever be carried out quickly.
For house demolitions to be carried out in a matter of days as many right-wing politicians have suggested, a new Knesset law would need to be passed specifically limiting legal protections from demolitions. Such a law might itself face objections of violating even Israel’s aggressive interpretation of allowing house demolitions under international law, unless it was passed as a Basic Law or in a manner which clearly overruled decades of High Court precedent.

In early March, Irfaiya was indicted in the Jerusalem District Court by the state prosecution for the alleged murder and rape of Ansbacher in Jerusalem’s Ein Yahel forest two months ago.

According to a summary of the indictment, Irfaiya crossed into Israel from the West Bank illegally with a general intent to kill a Jew out of revenge for his perception of Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians, but with no specific plan.

The indictment said that he saw 19-year-old Ansbacher of Tekoa and decided to kill her.

He stabbed her three times and dragged her to an even more abandoned spot. Next, he stabbed her a few more times and stuffed her mouth with her scarf so she could not scream, said the indictment. After that, he raped her, broke her telephone so she could not call for help and left her to die.

The Palestinian confessed to the Shin Bet (Israel’s security agency) and reconstructed the crime for them.

Irfaiya was eventually caught while trying to hide in a mosque near Ramallah. No Palestinian group has voiced support for him or taken credit for the attack, presumably due to the rape.

The brutal murder shocked Israel, leading to a wave of protests demanding that terrorists receive death sentences as well as an outpouring of grief over the death of Ansbacher.

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