State: Sealing terrorist's home essential

"According to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the vital need to deter these [terrorists] has increased," state attorney tells court.

jlem bulldozer attack 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
jlem bulldozer attack 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The state has been forced to change its mind and renew the policy of demolishing or sealing the homes of terrorists as a deterrent measure because of a wave of terrorism from east Jerusalem which began in 2007 and increased in 2008, the state told the High Court of Justice on Sunday. The state's representative, attorney Aner Hellman, was replying to a petition against the sealing of two of the four stories of a residential building in the Jebl Mukaber neighborhood filed by the father of Alah Dahim, the terrorist who killed eight students at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav Kook on March 6. "According to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency)," wrote Hellman, "in view of the wave of terrorist attacks that began in 2007, attacks perpetrated by east Jerusalem residents, a wave that increased in 2008, and in view of information that has accumulated regarding the intention of more east Jerusalem residents to perpetrate attacks, the vital need to deter these [terrorists] has increased." The state, quoting from earlier High Court decisions, rejected the charge that the demolition or sealing of terrorist's homes constituted collective punishment because innocent family members usually suffered. Hellman, quoting previous High Court decisions, said their suffering was a by-product of the deterrent measure, but not its aim. It also rejected the argument of the petitioner's lawyer, Andre Rosenthal, that in 2005 the state had decided to stop demolishing or sealing homes, following a recommendation by Maj.-Gen Uri Shani. Hellman told the court that Shani had found that demolishing and sealing terrorist homes had contributed to deterrence, but recommended that the army stop resorting to it except, possibly, in extreme cases. Since 2005, the situation had changed because of the increasing terrorism from east Jerusalem and was now found to be necessary again, said Hellman. Hellman also mentioned that the state intended to demolish the homes of two tractor drivers from east Jerusalem who went on rampages in July, killing and wounding dozens of civilians.