Court okays razing West Bank home of terrorist who plotted killing of Israeli brothers

Judge says ample evidence that destroying terrorists’ homes a deterrent; Khaled Kharousha accused of murder for helping his father plan shooting that killed Hallel and Yagel Yaniv

An Israeli soldier takes measurements at the home of Khaled Kharousha, accused of helping his father, a Hamas terrorist, in carrying out a deadly attack in Huwara, in the West Bank city of Nablus early May 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
An Israeli soldier takes measurements at the home of Khaled Kharousha, accused of helping his father, a Hamas terrorist, in carrying out a deadly attack in Huwara, in the West Bank city of Nablus early May 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The High Court of Justice on Monday rejected a petition to prevent the military from demolishing the home of one of the suspected terrorists involved in the killing of two Israeli brothers in an attack earlier this year.

On February 26, Abdel Fattah Hussein Kharousha, 49, a member of the Hamas terror group, shot and killed Hallel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19, as they drove through Huwara.

Kharousha fled the scene and was killed during an Israeli raid in Jenin on March 7. His sons Khaled and Muhammed Kharousha were detained during a raid on Nablus on the same day. The brothers were charged with murder for allegedly helping to plan the attack.

The military demolished the home of the elder Kharousha last month.

Judge Yechiel Kasher on Monday gave the go-ahead for the IDF to destroy Khaled Kharousha’s home in the West Bank city of Nablus. (Muhammed Kharousha lived with his father.)

Kasher wrote in his judgment that there was ample evidence that destroying terrorists’ homes acted as a deterrent to further attacks.

The Israeli military demolishes the home of Abdel Fattah Hussein Kharousha, who killed two Israeli brothers in Huwara in February, in the Askar refugee camp near Nablus, August 8, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF had already mapped Khaled Kharousha’s home for demolition in May.

Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as well as their accomplices as a matter of policy. The efficacy of the policy has been debated within the Israeli security establishment, while human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.

The demolition process generally takes several months as preparations for the razing are made and the order makes its way through the courts. Security forces often wait for an optimal time to enter Palestinian cities or neighborhoods for the operation.

Indictments were filed against Khaled and Muhammed Kharousha in May, charging them with intentionally causing death — the military court’s equivalent of murder — and weapons offenses.

Brothers Hallel (left) and Yagel Yaniv, who were killed in a terror attack in the West Bank town of Huwara on February 26, 2023. (Courtesy)

The pair helped their father plann the attack, and gathered intelligence, according to the indictment.

Initially, the sons were supposed to join their father in the attack itself, but in the days before the February 26 shooting, they agreed that the elder Kharousha would carry it out alone, the indictment added.

The killing of the Yaniv brothers sparked angry reprisals from settlers, who rampaged through Huwara hours after the shooting, setting fire to homes and cars and attacking people in what some termed a “pogrom.”

Violence has surged across the West Bank over the past year and a half, with a rise in Palestinian shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and troops, near-nightly arrest raids by the military, and an uptick in revenge attacks by extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians.

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