Court rejects petition against demolishing homes of Rina Shnerb’s killers
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Court rejects petition against demolishing homes of Rina Shnerb’s killers

Judges acknowledge that harm to relatives and neighbors is great, but says action is justified to deter future attacks

Rina Shnerb, 17, who was killed in a terror attack in the West Bank on August 23, 2019 (courtesy)
Rina Shnerb, 17, who was killed in a terror attack in the West Bank on August 23, 2019 (courtesy)

The High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected petitions against the demolition of the homes of two suspects in last August’s killing of 17-year-old Rina Shnerb in a bombing at a natural spring near a West Bank settlement.

The families of Walid Hanatsheh and Yasan Majamas had appealed the army’s intention to wreck their homes, but the court overruled them.

A panel of three judges said that “the harm to relatives and neighbors not involved in the attacks is great, but in light of the murderous waves of terror, a reasonable and limited use of the authority to confiscate and destroy, for deterrent purposes, is necessary and should not be condemned.”

Justice Hanan Melcer noted that relatives of the suspected terrorists refused to condemn their alleged actions during the court debate, and cited that as a contributing factor in the court’s decision.

The families of Hanatsheh and Majamas were notified of the intention to demolish their homes in early January.

The two are suspected members of the cell that carried out the bombing near Dolev that killed Shnerb and seriously injured her father and brother.

Israeli troops demolish the home of a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank city of Jenin on February 6, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)

According to the Shin Bet security service, the explosive was planted at the site and triggered remotely by a cell belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group, led by Samer Mina Salim Arbid, who was arrested shortly after the attack.

During its investigation, the Shin Bet, working with the Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police, uncovered a large network of PFLP operatives, who also allegedly conducted shooting attacks against Israeli targets “and were planning to carry out other significant terror attacks in the near future,” the security service said. It announced in December that it had arrested some 50 members of the network in recent months.

Demolitions are a controversial policy that the IDF says helps deter future terror attacks.

Israeli troops demolish the home of a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank city of Jenin on February 6, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)

Palestinian and Israeli rights groups have alleged that suspects were tortured after they were arrested in the aftermath of the attack. According to security sources, the Shin Bet was given permission to employ “extraordinary measures” during the interrogation of at least one of the suspects.

This is typically allowed in “ticking time bomb” cases where there is concern the suspect could provide security forces with information that could prevent an imminent attack.

Last week the family of another alleged cell member, Qassem Shibli, was also notified of intentions to demolish its home, and given an opportunity to appeal.

Judah Ari Gross and AP contributed to this report.

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