Court delays demolition of terrorist’s home to hear family’s appeal

Judge gives state 10 days to respond to relatives of 23-year-old Ashraf Na’alowa, who has been on the run since the killing of 2 co-workers last month

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israeli troops raid the home of Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa in the northern West Bank village of Shuweika, on October 7, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli troops raid the home of Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa in the northern West Bank village of Shuweika, on October 7, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

The High Court of Justice on Thursday issued a temporary injunction preventing the army from demolishing part of the family home of a Palestinian fugitive accused of killing two Israelis in a terror attack last month.

A judge gave the state 10 days to respond to an appeal filed by the family of 23-year-old Ashraf Na’alowa not to raze their home in the northern West Bank village of Shuweika. The court said a judicial panel would hear the family’s appeal in the coming days, and a decision would be handed down before November 22.

Na’alowa has been on the run since killing his coworkers Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi on October 7 at the factory in the Barkan Industrial Zone, in the central West Bank.

Days after the attack, the IDF issued a demolition order for Na’alowa’s home, in keeping with the Israeli policy of razing homes of convicted Palestinian terrorists.

In most cases, the demolition orders are issued after a suspect has confessed, or has been convicted in court. However in Na’alowa’s case, the IDF decided to go ahead with the punitive measure because the Shin Bet security service has significant incriminating evidence against him, the Ynet news site said.

Israeli security forces stand at the entrance of the Barkan Industrial Zone in the northern West Bank on October 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

The family first appealed the demolition orders to the IDF, but on Tuesday, that appeal was rejected and the army reissued the orders for part of the home.

A notice distributed by IDF Central Command, Maj. Gen. Nadav Padan said the basement and ground floors of Na’alowa’s home, where the suspected assailant lived, would be destroyed.

On Wednesday, the families of the victims demanded more severe reprisal measures from Israel against Na’alowa and his family.

At a memorial rally held at the Barkan complex, Levengrond Yehezkel’s father, Rafi, said the family demanded that Na’alowa be put to death if caught.

Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 29 (left), and Ziv Hajbi, 35, who were killed in a terror shooting in the Barkan industrial zone in the West Bank, October 7, 2018. (screenshots: Facebook)

Hajbi’s brother Tal criticized the IDF for the decision to demolish only the basement and ground floors of the Na’alowa home.

“A partial demolition of the terrorist’s home is unacceptable. The whole home must be razed,” Hajbi said, “and the family must be expelled.”

The demonstrators marched from the entrance of the industrial zone to the Alon Group factory where Yehezkel and Hajbi were killed and a third Israeli, Sara Vaturi, was wounded.

According to Hadashot TV news, the Defense Ministry has been in regular contact with the victims’ families regarding the home demolition. The station said that an aide for Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman had told Rafi Yehezkel in a phone call that there were legal constraints, but that his boss was working to circumvent them.

After the injunction was issued Thursday, Rafi Yehezkel slammed the court for “celebrating my daughter’s bloodshed and humiliating our family.” The grieving father told media outlets that he was ashamed to live in “a country with no justice or compassion,” and said he was considering giving up his Israeli citizenship in protest.

Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, a Palestinian man suspected of carrying out a deadly terror attack on October 7, 2018 in the Barkan Industrial Zone in the northern West Bank. (Courtesy)

IDF troops are still searching for Na’alowa, who has been on the run since killing his coworkers on October 7.

The military has launched an investigation of the Barkan attack to determine, among other things, how the gun was smuggled into the industrial park and whether the terrorist had intended to take Levengrond Yehezkel hostage, having used zip-ties to bind her hands before shooting her.

Levengrond was a secretary while Hajbi worked in accounting at the Alon Group’s factory in the industrial park. Na’alowa was employed there as an electrician.

Several members of Na’alowa’s family have been detained or arrested following the attack. The Israeli military has issued a number of warnings to Palestinians in the northern West Bank not to aid the attacker in his escape.

A Palestinian security official has confirmed to The Times of Israel that PA security forces are assisting in the search for Na’alowa.

(From L-R) Likud MK Oren Hazan, Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan, and relatives of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi, who were killed in a terror attack at the Barkan Industrial Zone march in their memory to the site of the attack on November 6, 2018. (Samaria Regional Council)

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the go-ahead for lawmakers to advance a controversial bill that aims to make it easier for Israel to sentence convicted Palestinian attackers of civilians and soldiers to death.

Netanyahu reportedly approved the legislation going against the advice of the security establishment. According to Israel Radio, Netanyahu told members of his coalition that opposition to the bill from both the Shin Bet and IDF should not stop them from advancing the legislation.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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