THE JEWISH community of Halamish where three members of the Salomon family were murdered on July 21..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The High Court of Justice appears to lean toward backing the state on its decision to demolish only part of the house of the terrorist who murdered several members of the Salomon family in Halamish (Neveh Tzuf).
The state has argued that only the first floor of the residence in question, and not the second floor, can be demolished. It has said that only that floor was connected to terrorist murderer Omad al-Abed’s July 2017 attack on the Salomons.
Responding to that decision, Tovah Salomon, Michal Salomon and Rachel Menezli Salomon, among the surviving family members, had petitioned the High Court to order the state to demolish the entire residence.
The Salomons’ lawyer argued that multiple family members of al-Abed had already been convicted of having had knowledge of his murderous intentions and of failing to stop or report him.
Further, the lawyer argued that al-Abed’s brother and his family lived on the second floor and that they used a common kitchen with al-Abed and that “the house was organic” and really one unit despite the separate floors.
He said that al-Abed’s brother’s family was ideologically supportive of the terrorist’s actions which connected them indirectly to the murders and made deterring them necessary.
The state’s lawyer responded that “the legal question is what part of the residence the terrorist is connected to. It is not about the family. That does not justify a punishment whose consequence is demolition. Demolition is not a punishment, but is a tool of deterrence regarding the part of a residence which is connected to a terrorist... There is no connection between the terrorist and the second floor.”
Three Israelis were killed in a stabbing attack in Halamish, July 21, 2017 (Reuters)
He added that only terrorist murders could lead to demolition, not an ideological identification or even lighter crimes.
The Salomons’ lawyer tried to parry this attack by saying that even the purpose of deterrence would be laughed at by terrorists when they saw that part of al-Abed’s residence was left alone.
But Justice Noam Sohlberg pressed the Salomons’ lawyer on Sunday to explain what basis any court, even the High Court, had to second-guess state security authorities’ professional decision about which part of a residence needed to be demolished to achieve deterrence.
The justices seemed doubtful of the lawyer’s response and waived off many of his more visceral arguments about how horrible the incident had been which were designed to appeal to the justices’ emotional sensibilities.
Michal Salomon was the last to speak, saying: “Without getting into the legal issues, look at me. I am a widow with five children and I request that you prevent the next murder and the next family of victims from ending up like us.”
The court did not give a decision date.
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