Yosef Ben David, currently serving a life sentence, was the ringleader of the group which killed Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The state will not demolish the house of Yosef Haim Ben-David, who brutally murdered and burned to death 16-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Abu Khdeir on July 2, 2014, but it would consider demolitions of Jewish terrorists in the future if Jewish terror became more widespread, the Justice Ministry told the High Court of Justice late Thursday.
With Israel refusing to demolish Ben-David’s house while demolishing the houses of many Palestinian terrorists, the Abu Khdeir family has petitioned the High Court to declare the different treatment of Jewish and Palestinian attackers to be discrimination.
In a legal brief to the the High Court, the state said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan had discussed the issue and found that Palestinian terror is a much wider phenomenon, requiring special forms of deterrence, than Jewish terror.
At the same time, the brief said that if the situation changed, and Jewish terror became more widespread, they would potentially revisit the issue and be ready to demolish Jewish terrorists' houses also.
In a prior filing, the state wrote that in 2015 there were only 16 Jewish terrorist incidents and only two so far in 2016 (attacks including incidents beyond murders), far less than from the Palestinian side.
MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint List) claimed this policy was discrimination in April 2016, responding to Ben-David’s conviction for murder at a press conference. He said that even as the court “had reached the correct decision,” he attacked the absence of a government process or even discussion about demolishing Ben-David’s house.
The Jerusalem Post
asked Tibi if a formal request with the government for a demolition had been filed, as state prosecutor Uri Korb previously told the Post
would need to be done since house demolitions are not authorized by the prosecution.
He responded, “Has any lawyer in the past proposed to destroy a Palestinian house? It was an initiative from the prime minister, by the public security minister and by the authorities, I think that they know this option.”
Eventually, the Abu Khdeir family requested that the government demolish Ben-David’s house, and when the state refused, they petitioned the High Court.