Family of E. Jerusalem Arab teen petitions court to demolish homes of his killers
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Family of E. Jerusalem Arab teen petitions court to demolish homes of his killers

Defense Ministry says no need to act in case of Muhammed Abu Khdeir as infrequent Jewish terror doesn’t require deterrent against future attacks

Hussein Abu Khdeir, the father of the slain Palestinian teen Muhammed Abu Khdeir, outside his home in East Jerusalem, October 21, 2014 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Hussein Abu Khdeir, the father of the slain Palestinian teen Muhammed Abu Khdeir, outside his home in East Jerusalem, October 21, 2014 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The family of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, the East Jerusalem teen who was murdered by Jewish extremists in 2014, filed a petition with the High Court of Justice on Wednesday demanding the demolition of the killers’ homes, Channel 10 news reported.

Abu Khdeir was abducted and killed in East Jerusalem on July 1, 2014, by three Jewish attackers. An autopsy found that the 16-year-old had been burned alive.

The Jerusalem District Court handed down a life sentence, plus 20 years in jail, to Yosef Ben David, found to be the ringleader of the group that murdered Abu Khdeir. The two other killers — both minors — were sentenced to life in prison and 21 years, respectively.

But the Abu Khdeir family has demanded the state demolish their homes, as it does for Palestinian terrorists.

Police escort Yosef Ben David (in green), one of the Jewish suspects in the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, in the Jerusalem District Court on June 8, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Police escort Yosef Ben David (in green), one of the Jewish suspects in the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, in the Jerusalem District Court on June 8, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

“The state needs to operate in the same way against Jewish terrorists as it does against Palestinians. Just like the homes of Palestinian terrorists are sealed, the same should be done to Jews,” the family said in its plea.

Last month, the Defense Ministry told the family in a letter that there was no need to demolish the homes of Jewish terrorists at this stage, as the attacks are too infrequent to warrant the deterrent action.

According to the official letter seen by The Times of Israel last month, the ministry’s legal adviser told the Abu Khdeir family: “Given the scale of the phenomenon of seriously hostile crimes in the Jewish community, the need to implement this [deterrent] power does not arise.”

Speaking to the Times of Israel by phone on June 16, Abu Khdeir’s father Hussein rejected the Defense Ministry’s decision.

The parents and sister of Muhammed Abu Khdeir attend the Jerusalem District Court during the trial discussion on the murder of Abu Khdeir, on June 8, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
The parents and sister of Muhammed Abu Khdeir attend the Jerusalem District Court during the trial discussion on the murder of Abu Khdeir, on June 8, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

“I will go to the Supreme Court. And if they don’t accept it, then I will go to an international court,” said the father last month.

“What happened to Muhammed Abu Khdeir is not something small, this was burning. It’s like what the Nazis did,” Hussein Abu Khdeir continued. “I want them to do exactly what they do to Arabs. I won’t accept anything less than the destruction of their three homes,” he said, referring to his son’s three killers.

16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teenager whose burned body was found Wednesday, July 2, 2014, in the Jerusalem Forest (photo credit: AFP via family handout)
16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teenager whose burned body was found Wednesday, July 2, 2014, in the Jerusalem Forest (AFP via family handout)

Jbara, the family’s lawyer, said in response to the ministry: “We maintain that in the recent period, following the increase of attacks by Jews, like against Abu Khdeir, like the Dawabsha home [firebombing in July 2014, which killed three members of the family], like the arson against a coexistence school, like the incident of the shooting in Hebron, there are many voices, including among Jews, that say this side must be deterred as well. And therefore indeed their homes must be demolished.”

The Defense Ministry’s letter noted that the murder of Abu Khdeir “shook Israeli society deeply,” and that the security and legal authorities of Israel “worked day and night to locate the men who carried out the hateful act… in order to bring them to judgment.

“Under the current circumstances,” the letter ended, “the appropriate action is to ensure justice is carried out for the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, and not the demolition of homes pursuant to defense regulations.”

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