'Barak OKs destroying Fogel killers' family homes'

Defense minister, IDF chief agree to demolish homes of the terrorists' families despite cessation of policy in 2005.

Fogel family 311 (photo credit: Courtesy: Itamar community)
Fogel family 311
(photo credit: Courtesy: Itamar community)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz Sunday decided to demolish the homes of the murderers of the Fogel family, subject to legal approval, Army Radio reported Sunday morning.
The move to destroy the homes of Hakim and Ajmad Awad – who murdered five members of the Fogel family in Itamar in March 2011 – was recommended by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
In the coming weeks the Knesset legal adviser’s office will discuss the subject. The recommendation comes despite the decision made in 2005 to cease the policy of demolishing houses by way of retribution.
“This is one of the most brutal terrorist attacks ever, and the Shin Bet thinks that demolition is a punitive step that may deter other terrorists from carrying out such tragic crimes,” Army Radio quoted Shin Bet former head Yaakov Perry as saying.
The Shin Bet explained that along with the deterrent effect, several of the killers’ relatives helped after the attack by concealing the weapons and destroying evidence.
Not everyone was in agreement on the issue. Army Radio reported that IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai sent a letter to Gantz’s office saying that “the demolition of houses at this stage could be interpreted as an act of vengeance which will lead to a flare-up in the area.”
He added that the move could lead to severe criticism in the media.
Meretz party leader Zehava Gal-On also reacted, saying that while the “abominable murderers of the Fogel family should rot in jail,” she did not understand “the political impulse to destroy their families’ homes, after the IDF itself abolished the use of house demolitions as a method of punishment, because it is inefficient and immoral.”
“There is obviously no deterrent effect or security need in the process, except for political need for the settlers,” Gal-On added.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz also weighed in on the discussion, praising the decision to demolish the homes of the terrorists’ families.
“This step is correct and necessary,” Katz said. “Home demolition will deter terrorists from attacking Jews, and make it clear to the families that aided and raised the dastardly murderers that they will also pay the price.”
Katz went further, expressing his opinion that the death sentence was appropriate for the Fogel family murderers “who committed one of the most despicable, revolting crimes.”