Israel has reinstated house demolitions in the West Bank after a decade-long hiatus as part of its latest efforts against Hamas.
by Chaim Levinson 4 July 2014 Haaretz
The Israel Defense Forces is considering demolishing dozens of homes in the West Bank, including those of Hamas leaders, arguing that prison time is not an adequate deterrent for crimes. The IDF is conducting staff work in the run-up to a decision.
Israel has reinstated house demolitions in the West Bank after a decade-long hiatus as part of its latest efforts against Hamas. This week the High Court of Justice approved the demolition of the home of Ziad Awad, who has been charged with the murder of an off-duty policeman (but has not been convicted yet .Ed).
In response to a petition against demolishing Awad’s home, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, the head of Central Command, told the court that such operations were necessary because of the increase in terror activity over the past two years.
Meanwhile, in the town of Awarta near Nablus this week, IDF officials have measured the homes of the two men convicted of murdering the Fogel family in March 2011. Five members of the family were stabbed to death in their home in the settlement of Itamar, including the parents and three children aged 11 years, 4 years and 3 months.
An earlier recommendation by the Shin Bet security service to demolish the houses was rejected.
The IDF also intends to demolish the homes of the following: the two suspects in the recent kidnapping and murder of three teens in the West Bank, the two men convicted of kidnapping and murdering soldier Tomer Hazan, the teen convicted of murdering soldier Eden Attias, and the two men who confessed to murdering Col. (res.) Seraiah Ofer. The latter three killings all took place in the second half of last year.
The Hamas leaders who would be punished this way are the ones arrested after the kidnapping of the three teens. The homes of Hamas military leaders who are in Israeli prisons were demolished years ago.
Others whose homes may be demolished are men released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011; in that case, Israeli officials would have to prove that these men have returned to terror.
Netanyahu must stop the immoral demolition of West Bank homes
Once again, Israel's High Court is serving as the feeble echo of the defence establishment
Haaretz Editorial 6 July 2014
The Israel Defense Forces rushed to destroy the house of Ziad Awad, suspected of murdering an off-duty policeman, after the High Court of Justice rejected a petition against demolishing the home. The IDF is now preparing for the demolition of dozens more houses in the West Bank. This immoral, inane policy — which breaches international law and which the IDF itself has deemed futile — is returning.
Over the weekend IDF officials visited the town of Awarta in the West Bank and measured the houses of the two men convicted of murdering the Fogel family. Other homes are also slated to be demolished: that of Nidal Amar, who abducted and murdered the soldier Tomer Hazan; that of the minor who murdered the soldier Eden Attias; and that of the murderers of Col. (res.) Seraiah Ofer. So are the houses of the two men suspected of abducting and killing the three yeshiva students in the West Bank: Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisheh.
The IDF is also considering the demolition of houses of Hamas leaders in the West Bank — people who were arrested during the search for the three teens — and of Palestinian prisoners released in the Gilad Shalit deal in 2011.
Had the High Court rejected, as it was expected to do, the petition against a suspect’s house, the IDF wouldn’t have dared to prepare for dozens more demolitions. But the court chose once again to serve as the feeble echo of the defense establishment. It caved entirely.
The three judges who rejected the petition, Miriam Naor, Yoram Danziger and Uri Shoham, chose to ignore not only international law, which prohibits collective punishment. They also ignored the conclusions of a military committee set up in 2005, which ruled that the limited deterrence achieved by destroying homes is not proportionate to the hatred and hostility that this measure stokes. Following the conclusions of this panel, which was formed by then-Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon, Israel stopped demolishing terrorists’ homes.
Demolishing houses violates the Geneva Convention and Hague Regulations because it is collective punishment that punishes perpetrators’ wives, relatives and even neighbors for offenses they did not commit. Nor has demolition ever proved an effective deterrent in preventing further terror acts.
When the defense establishment is ruled by politicians who seek to assuage the public’s thirst for revenge, and the High Court chooses to legitimize this abomination, one can only hope that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exercises his moral and diplomatic judgment. He must order the IDF to refrain from these pointless acts.
Israel's High Court of Justice is a collaborator of the occupation
These are days of darkness, exactly the kind of days in which Israel needs a High Court of Justice, but the High Court os nowhere to be found.
by Gideon Levy 4 July 2014 Haaretz
The High Court of Justice deserves a pat on the shoulder for a job well done. Once again it has proved it is unequaled in preserving glorious judicial traditions. Court presidents have come and gone, justices have changed, the glittering, lofty team of Meir Shamgar, Aharon Barak, Mishael Cheshin and Dorit Beinisch has been replaced by Asher Grunis’ group of gray clerks. But the court hasn’t stopped the music. The golden tribunal has proved yet again that it is no more than a wimpy rubber stamp. The beacon of justice has long flickered out. In fact it has never been one when it comes to the occupation. There, of all places, where it is so needed, the beacon became a blackened, humbled matchstick.
The judicial activism stopped at the Green Line, leaving anarchy beyond it. Remember that paragon among Israeli documentaries, “The Law in These Parts”? Well, we may as well produce “The Law in These Parts, Part II.” In time, when history judges events, it will remember where the High Court was when all this took place. It will record: The High Court was a collaborator.
For the umpteenth time, the High Court on Tuesdaydenied another petition against demolishing a terrorist’s house. This time the court overlooked such trivia as the fact that Ziad Awad has not been convicted of murdering police officer Baruch Mizrahi. But his family’s house has already been torn down. The Supreme Court does not believe the authorities should wait for a conviction, even if only for appearances’ sake. The IDF and Shin Bet have already judged the man, and to hell with the law and the separation of powers.
To hell with international law, too, which forbids destroying houses as a punitive measure (article 53 in the Fourth Geneva Convention) as well as penalizing individuals for an offense they had not personally committed (article 33 in the convention and article 50 of the Hague Regulations). Forget about the Hague and Geneva, don’t bother the High Court of Justice with those irrelevant institutions. In the Israeli-occupied territories there’s only one sovereign and it is allowed to commit any evil. The proof is the High Court’s stamp of approval.
The High Court approves almost every whim of the defense establishment. For years its judges have evaded a decision on the issue of torture, they have never dared form an opinion on the settlements’ legality, they’ve almost always approved deportations, administrative detentions and destroying houses.
They will always pull the appropriate excuse out of their sleeve. They’ll say destroying houses is not a punitive step but a “deterring” one (even if a military panel, appointed by Moshe Ya’alon when he was chief of staff, ruled in 2005 that demolition hardly deters at all and does more harm than good). Nor do the champions of Israeli justice see demolition as collective punishment — it’s no more collective punishment than is arrest, for which the family suffers, too, they ruled in the past. International law in the territories is subject to something more sublime in their eyes – amendment 119 to the Defense (Emergency) Regulations promulgated by the British authorities in mandatory Palestine.
The justices sitting in the High Court are supposed to assist petitioners and administer justice even when it’s not in keeping with the dry letter of the law. But in matters concerning the occupation, the court sees no need to provide either assistance or justice. It makes do with the services provided by the benevolent occupation’s authorities. As far as the High Court is concerned, Awad’s brother’s house is the same as Awad’s own house, his wife and children are guilty and their houses will be destroyed as well. Whether in Cheshin’s poetic tongue or in the bureaucratic words of Miriam Naor, Yoram Danziger and Uri Shoham, it’s the same depressing, frightening message: Keep occupying, punishing, evicting, dispossessing and abusing – the High Court is behind you.
These are days of darkness. Days of pain, hatred, incitement and revenge. Exactly the kind of days in which Israel needs a High Court of Justice, but the High Court isn’t there. This court has won praises in Israel and the world, and the Israeli right even brazenly described it as leftist, as it cynically branded the Israeli media, which is now recording another shameful chapter in its own chronicles.
The High Court is Israel’s lovely, enlightened face, but with such a face Israel has no need of the ugly one, now seen in Jerusalem’s streets. The thugs are rampaging in the streets and the “Al Yahud Gang” already has thousands of Facebook friends. Who’s to say which is worse — the rabble thirsty for revenge, or the instruments of revenge in the hall of justice?