The military on Friday announced it intends to demolish the family home of a Palestinian terrorist who killed an Israeli man and seriously wounded two others in a recent shooting attack on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street.
On March 9, Mutaz Salah al-Khawaja opened fire outside a cafe, critically wounding Or Eshkar — who died 11 days later — and also hurting his friends Rotem Mansano and Michael Osdon as they headed to a wedding.
Al-Khawaja then fled the scene before being gunned down not long after in a shootout with police officers and civilians.
Following the attack, troops raided his hometown of Ni’lin in the West Bank to measure the house in preparation for its demolition, which the Israel Defense Forces has now ordered.
As a matter of policy, Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks. The efficacy of the policy has been hotly debated even within the Israeli security establishment, while human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.
Al-Khawaja’s family can still appeal the decision to raze the home to Israel’s High Court of Justice. But such attempts rarely succeed, though in some cases the court can limit the demolition order to only the parts of the house used by the terrorist.
The shooting came amid heightened tensions over the past year as Israeli forces have ratcheted up arrest raids and other counterterror efforts in the West Bank following a series of terror attacks.
Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 15 Israelis dead and several more seriously hurt.
At least 86 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.
There has also been a rise in settler violence toward Palestinians in recent months.