Supreme Court okays destroying terrorist's home

Court rejects appeal by father of Husam Dwayat, who killed 3 Israelis in bulldozer rampage.

dwayat house 248.88 (photo credit: )
dwayat house 248.88
(photo credit: )
In a ruling that could end the five-year freeze on the practice of home demolitions, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday afternoon that the house of the Israeli Arab terrorist whose July, 2008 bulldozer rampage claimed three lives could be demolished. Justice Edmond Levy wrote in the ruling that "considerations regarding the damage that will be done to the family do not stand against the chance that such an action will deter others from joining the bloody trail." Levy's decision annulled an injunction against the demolition issued by a lower court following an appeal by Husam Taysir Dwayat's father earlier this year. Dwayat's father argued that he was not responsible for his son's actions, and that the impending demolition constituted a disproportionate response as the multi-story building was home to the extended Dwayat family. Four months after the deadly attack on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road, security services decided to demolish the Dwayat family home in Sur Baher. The state argued that the house needed to be destroyed to deter other potential terrorists, an argument accepted by Levy, who said he found no reason to interfere with the decision by security forces to demolish the home. In his ruling, Levy wrote that "the appellant did not submit any justifiable claim which counters the deterrent effect of demolition. He did not succeed in refuting the state's claim that this means cannot be forgone if the desired result is to be achieved: minimizing the impact of terrorism. Furthermore, the demolition under discussion would be partial and would therefore constitute a measured response." The father's "assertion that discrimination is at work here, usually a just argument for protection, cannot take root in the earth plowed so deeply by the wheels of the bulldozer driven by his son," Levy wrote. In describing Dwayat's rampage, the justice wrote: "He had one aim - to sow death and destruction on as wide a scale as he could. Three Israelis, whose only sin was to drive as they usually did on the capital's main street, were killed by him, and dozens of others were wounded." In the early years of the second intifada, demolition of terrorists' houses was a common practice, but the 2005 findings of the Shani Commission concluded the practice did not serve any deterrent purpose. Public pressure to renew the practice mounted after the Merkaz Harav terror attack, which was also carried out by a Jerusalem resident.