Court delays demolition of terrorists’ homes
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Court delays demolition of terrorists’ homes

Injunction follows petitions by families of Palestinians behind deadly November 19 attacks in Tel Aviv, Etzion Bloc

Israeli police at the scene where two Israelis were killed in a stabbing attack by a Palestinian terrorist at the Panorama building in southern Tel Aviv , on November 19, 2015.  (Moti Karelitz/ZAKA TEL AVIV)
Israeli police at the scene where two Israelis were killed in a stabbing attack by a Palestinian terrorist at the Panorama building in southern Tel Aviv , on November 19, 2015. (Moti Karelitz/ZAKA TEL AVIV)

The High Court of Justice on Thursday suspended demolition orders for the West Bank homes of two Palestinians who allegedly killed five Israelis in twin attacks on November 19 of last year.

The court issued the temporary injunctions in response to petitions by the families of the suspected terrorists, Israel Radio reported Friday.

Raed Masalmeh, 36, from Hebron, admitted stabbing to death Reuven Aviram, 51, and 32-year-old Aharon Yesiav, and wounding a third person in an attack on Jewish worshipers at the Panorama building in south Tel Aviv. He has been indicted for murder at Tel Aviv District Court.

Just hours after the Tel Aviv attack, Mohammed Abdel Basset al-Kharoub, 24, from the village of Dir Smat near Hebron, shot dead three people and wounded four others near the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut.

Raed Masalmeh, 36, at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on December 2, 2015. (Photo by Flash90)
Raed Masalmeh, 36, at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on December 2, 2015. (Photo by Flash90)

Tel Aviv attacker Masalmeh expressed regret for his actions and shed a tear while reenacting the crime, police said. He said he was driven to carry out the attack by the pain he felt for the situation of the Palestinians.

Four days before he carried out the attack, Masalmeh had been issued the permit to work in Israel. The permit was issued after a background check by security services found he had no record of previous activity constituting a security concern.

Pictures from the scene of a shooting attack in the Etzion bloc in the West Bank on November 19, 2015. (Magen David Adom)
Pictures from the scene of a shooting attack in the Etzion bloc in the West Bank on November 19, 2015. (Magen David Adom)

In the West Bank attack, police and army confirmed al-Kharoub opened fire with an Uzi submachine gun from inside a vehicle, hitting several people. When he ran out of ammunition, the attacker drove in the direction of the nearby Etzion Bloc Junction before ramming his vehicle into a car.

Among al-Kharoub’s victims was American Jewish youth Ezra Schwartz, 18, of Massachusetts.

The practice of demolishing the family homes of terrorists has been criticized by non-governmental groups, but government officials have defended its use as a deterrent against attacks. Critics claim that in addition to being a form of collective punishment, house demolitions could motivate family members of terrorists to launch attacks themselves.

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