Background: Terrorist's lawyer buys time to stall east Jerusalem house demolition

September 24, 2008 23:01
2 minute read.


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It's no wonder that Defense Minister Ehud Barak is impatient with the legal procedures he must endure before he can demolish the homes of east Jerusalem Palestinian terrorists. After hesitating for many months, Barak instructed Home Front Command commander Maj.-Gen. Ya'ir Golan to issue orders to demolish two stories of the four-storey home of Hisham Abu Dahim, whose son, Alah, broke into Yeshivat Mercaz Harav Kook on March 6 and shot eight students dead. Even before Golan formally issued the order, he informed Abu Dahim's lawyer, Andre Rosenthal, on August 6, of his intention to demolish the two stories. Rosenthal immediately asked Golan to give him access to an internal military study regarding the effectiveness of house demolitions. Rosenthal was referring to the 2004 Shani Report, an internal army study which apparently concluded that house demolitions did not deter terrorists nor reduce terrorism. The report was not released to the public. Since the study was submitted, however, the army has not demolished any more homes. Golan did not show Rosenthal the report, and formally issued the demolition order on August 25. The following day, he rejected Rosenthal's objection to the demolition. Nevertheless, in accordance with standard practice, Rosenthal was given seven more days to petition the High Court of Justice against Golan's decision. The petition was submitted on September 2. On the same day, Justice Salim Joubran issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the army from demolishing the two stories until the court ruled on the main body of the petition. He also gave the state 30 days to respond. According to Rosenthal, this petition is not the last step in the judicial process. He formulated the petition carefully. He did not petition against the demolition order itself, but against the army's refusal to provide him with information pertaining to the case which would help him prepare his petition against the demolition order. Rosenthal asked the court to order the army to show him the Shani Report, and to provide engineering blueprints which prove it is possible to destroy the basement and ground floor apartments without causing structural damage to the two stores above. He also demanded proof that Alah Abu Dahim belonged to a terrorist organization. There is no telling how long the case will take in court. The state must present its response to the petition by about October 1. After that, the court will convene a first hearing. Rosenthal will try to stall as long as he can. And, as he told The Jerusalem Post, he also hoped this petition would lead to another one, against the demolition itself - though it is not certain the court will go along with the ploy. At any rate, even assuming that the court eventually rejects the petition or petitions, it will take weeks, perhaps months, before it does so. Barak is obviously unhappy with this state of affairs. During a visit to the IDF's Gaza Division on Monday, he said the demolition of the Mercaz Harav killer's home had not yet been carried out "because of the clumsy rules of the legal system which are inappropriate for the emergency situation Israel currently faces."

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