High Court hears petition against razing home of Otniel terrorist

The family’s lawyers argued that the parents should not be penalized for the actions of their son when they would have tried to stop him had they known what he was planning to do.

March 14, 2016 00:20
2 minute read.
Dafna Meir

Dafna Meir, the woman who was murdered in her home in Otniel on January 17, 2016. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The High Court of Justice on Sunday heard a petition to block the destruction of the family home of a 16-year-old minor who allegedly murdered Dafna Meir in Otniel in the South Hebron Hills on January 17.

Though dramatic, the hearing was not the first time when parents and other adult family members faced their home being demolished because of the actions of a minor. A Justice Ministry spokesman noted the precedent exists for flattening a family’s home when teenagers are involved in terrorism.

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The family’s lawyers argued that the parents should not be penalized for the actions of their son when they would have tried to stop him had they known what he was planning to do.

The justices appeared to take the state’s side, noting that since many of the current terrorist attacks are being perpetrated by teenagers, the home demolition policy would lose its deterrent value if minors’ families were exempt.

On the other hand, the justices noted there have been many demolitions recently, and that soon they will need to evaluate whether the demolition policy is achieving its intended deterrence.

The justices suggested they might use this case as a precedent for examining the issues relating to home demolitions arising from terrorist actions perpetrated by minors rather than adults.

There was also more clarity from the justices about the father not knowing what his teenage son was involved in as opposed to the mother.

There were indications that the minor’s brother and others might have supported his actions.

Some evidence was submitted in a closed door session.

The indictment of the minor, whose name is under a gag order, specifies that the attacker who killed Dafna Meir returned to his home in the nearby village of Beit Amra after the stabbing, and watched a movie with his family.

The teen had watched PA television broadcasts that incited against Israel, and said Israel was “killing young Palestinians” before he allegedly committed the murder, according to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

He was arrested two days after the murder, and confessed to the crime during an interrogation, the Shin Bet said.

The indictment said the attacker armed himself with carving knifes before setting out for Otniel. Upon arrival in the settlement south of Hebron, the indictment said that he hid in bushes outside the Meir family home from where he watched the 38-year-old nurse and her children.

The terrorist then attacked Meir and repeatedly stabbed her in the upper body in front of one of her children, the indictment states.

Despite Meir’s attempts to ward off her attacker, he overcame her and mortally wounded her. The assailant fled while Meir lay dying.

Emergency personnel pronounced her death.

The formal accusation also detailed the terrorist’s actions following the attack, in which he arrived home, noticed blood on his left hand and washed it off.

Afterward, he reportedly sat down with his family and watched a movie.

The stabbing marked the first time Palestinian terrorists have carried out a fatal attack inside a West Bank settlement since March 2011, when five members of the Fogel family were stabbed to death in their home in Itamar.

Jerusalem Post staff and Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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