Israeli troops demolished overnight Sunday the home of a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed to death a 13-year-old Israeli girl in June.
A large military force, including members of the Combat Engineering Corps, arrived in the West Bank village of Bani Na’im, outside Hebron, in the early hours of Monday morning to raze the family home of Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, 17, who on June 30 broke into the nearby Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba and stabbed Hallel Ariel to death as she slept in her bed.
The settlement’s security team arrived on the scene and shot Tarayrah dead. A member of the community’s emergency response team was also injured in the attack.
The Tarayrah family lives on the second floor of a three-story building in the village.
Both an excavator and explosive charges were used to bring down the second story of the building where Tarayrah lived.
Last week, the Supreme Court approved the demolition order, noting that some of Tarayrah’s family members were at least partially aware of his intentions and supported the murder after the fact.
Tarayrah’s family was first served with a demolition order on July 5, but appealed it through the Center for the Defense of the Individual non-governmental organization.
Though the order was upheld, the court did alter it, refusing the state’s request to demolish not only the second floor of the building, but the first and third floors as well.
That decision was “based on the principle of proportionality to which the prosecution is beholden,” the court said in its ruling. “It is not possible to approve the prosecution’s decision to demolish the first and third floor of the building. There is no disagreement that the terrorist lived on the second floor of the building, and only there.”
As per Israel’s Emergency Security Regulations — which has its origins in Ottoman law — the military commander of a given area “has the right to order the demolition of any house, structure or land” of anyone who took part in a violent act or assisted those who took part in a violent act.
Israel argues that home demolitions are not punishments, but rather serve as a deterrent, preventing future attacks, according to section 119 of Israel’s Emergency Security Regulations.
While neither the justices nor the prosecution alleged the family had “positive and concrete” evidence that Tarayrah was going to carry out an attack, the ruling noted that his relatives knew of, and supported, his beliefs.
In their decision, the judges in the case — Yoram Danziger, Uzi Vogelman and Noam Sohlberg — wrote that the family was “aware that the terrorist identified with the idea of carrying out a terror attack against innocent civilians,” and did not try to stop him.
The justices also pointed to Facebook posts published by Tarayrah, including one reading, “Death is my right, and I am demanding my right,” which his brother admitted to having seen prior to the attack, as well as to statements made by his sister Lara after the fact, praising her brother’s actions.
“My brother, you have brought pride to us, to your family, and not only to your family, but all of Bani Na’im,” his sister said in an interview after the attack.
After footage of the interview was published, Israeli forces arrested the 22-year-old for “incitement and encouragement of attackers to engage in terrorist attacks,” the army said.