Eliraz Peretz 1998.
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Peace Now plans to ask the High Court of Justice not to discuss the demolition of the homes of two IDF majors who were killed in battle.
Peace Now initially petitioned the court asking it to rule that 12 houses in the settlement of Eli should be demolished since they were built without municipal planning permits.
But two of the homes in question belong to the families of IDF majors Ro’i Klein and Eliraz Peretz, both of whom were killed in action; Klein during the Second Lebanon War when he heroically saved his comrades’ lives by jumping on a live grenade, and Peretz during a clash last month in the Gaza Strip.
Klein was deputy commander of the Golani Brigade’s Battalion 51, Peretz was deputy commander of the same brigade’s Battalion 13.
Peretz’s story was particularly wrenching, as his older brother had been killed in Lebanon in the 1990s and he lost his father just three years later. Peretz’s younger brother serves in the Golani Brigade.
“We, too, are attentive to the families’ suffering and the delicate situation,” Peace Now Secretary General Yariv Oppenheimer said. “We are not insensitive; the thought that soldiers may come to evacuate those homes is difficult to bear, also for us.”
But Oppenheimer said there was also a political consideration involved.
“There is a campaign by right-wing officials trying to exploit difficult cases to prevent the evacuation of any outpost and we do not want to step into this trap,” he said.
“It is important to clarify that we still demand the demolition of illegal homes, but at this time we will ask the High Court of Justice not to discuss these two specific homes.”
National Union MK Michael Ben Ari lambasted Peace Now’s revision to its petition, originally submitted five years ago, as “a cruel evasion.”
“The heroes of the outposts do not need to get killed so that their homes are spared demolition,” he said.
The state is expected to respond to Peace Now’s petition by May 1.
Meanwhile, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi on Wednesday opened memorial events ahead of Monday’s Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars by placing an Israeli flag on Peretz’s grave, since he was the last soldier to be killed in combat.
“Here, between the thousands of gravestones and silent tombs, testimony to 62 years of struggle for our freedom as a nation and a state, we stand, year after year, in honor of the memory of our sons and daughters, whose song of life was muted prematurely and thanks to whose sacrifice the people of Israel can celebrate the gift of liberty and security in their own state,” he said after visiting the grave on Mount Herzl.
“I have just made my way to a nearby plot, where lie the remains of the most recent fallen soldier brought to rest on Mount Herzl, Maj. Eliraz Peretz, may his memory be blessed, and together with his mother Miriam and his widow Shlomit, laid the flag of the country in whose name he embarked on his last mission.”