Eight months after two Palestinian terrorists killed four worshipers and a policeman at a Jerusalem synagogue, Israeli security forces Wednesday sealed a home belonging to the family of one of the attackers.
A ruling last November by the High Court initially prevented the government from demolishing the homes of cousins Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal pending an appeal by their relatives and human rights groups.
But the appeal was unsuccessful and the presiding judge ruled that “the petitioners could not prove that the government’s decision [to seal off their houses] is disproportionate” to the crime they committed.
Thus the IDF was given the green light, and the home belonging to the family of Uday was cemented in early Wednesday morning in East Jerusalem’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood. The action did not extend to the home of Ghassan.
The event proceeded without injury or incident. It was not immediately clear why the house was sealed rather than razed, although Channel 10 news speculated that cementing in homes is standard practice prior to demolition. The IDF provided no comment on the matter.
Armed with pistols and meat cleavers, the Abu Jamal cousins stormed a Har Nof synagogue last November, killing Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky, Rabbi Kalman Levine and Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg. Zidan Saif, a policeman who rushed to the scene, was critically hurt by gunfire and later succumbed to his wounds, bringing the death toll to five.
The cousins were killed in a shootout with police.
A deterrent measure renewed in the past year following an uptick in so-called lone-wolf attacks, the razing of the homes of Palestinian terrorists has been condemned by human rights organizations, including Israeli NGO B’Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights.
The brother of one of the perpetrators told The Times of Israel that the house-sealing amounted to collective punishment. “I still have no idea where to send [my family], where they will live. I’m still looking for a place for them to sleep,” Mugawiyah Abu Jamal, the brother of Ghassan said. “You’re punishing the entire family for the actions of the son. Why do you turn them into refugees, into homeless people? This will lead to hatred, not a solution,” he said.