IDF issues demolition orders for homes of suspects in deadly West Bank shooting

Official notice given to families of Muhammad Youssef Jaradat and Mahmoud Ghaleb Jaradat, accused of taking part in attack that killed Yehuda Dimentman near Homesh last month

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

IDF soldiers operating in the West Bank Palestinian town of Silat al-Harithiya, December 20, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF soldiers operating in the West Bank Palestinian town of Silat al-Harithiya, December 20, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli military has informed the families of two alleged Palestinian terrorists that their houses in the West Bank village of Silat al-Harithiya, near Jenin, are slated for demolition.

According to the Shin Bet security agency, a cell belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group carried out a deadly shooting attack last month in the northern West Bank, in which one man, Yehuda Dimentman, was killed and two others were lightly wounded.

The family of one suspect, Muhammad Youssef Jaradat, was given a demolition order on Wednesday for the entire building in which he lived, while Mahmoud Ghaleb Jaradat’s family was notified last week of the military’s intention to demolish only the floor in which he resided.

As a punitive policy, Israel demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks.

In December, troops came under fire while they first measured the buildings in order to determine the best way to raze the structures. There were no injuries to Israeli forces at the time.

An appeal on behalf of Mahmoud Ghaleb Jaradat’s family was submitted on Tuesday to Israel’s High Court of Justice, and a response is expected in the coming days.

IDF soldiers operating in the West Bank Palestinian town of Silat al-Harithiya, December 20, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

Muhammad Youssef Jaradat’s family has also been given the chance to appeal the decision to raze their home, the IDF said.

Appeal 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 potential demolition of the homes of several others allegedly involved in the attack is still under review by the military.

Palestinian officials identified the other arrested individuals as Ibrahim Musa Tahaineh, Taher Abu Salah, Ghaith Ahmed Yassin Jaradat and Omar Ahmed Yassin Jaradat.

Two of the suspects were believed to have conducted the actual shooting, while the rest were suspected of helping them and otherwise being involved in the cell.

Yehuda Dimentman. (Courtesy)

Terrorists opened fire at the car Dimentman was traveling in with two other men, killing him and lightly wounding the others as they left the Homesh outpost on December 16 last year. A military official said their car was ambushed from the side of the road.

Dimentman was a student at a yeshiva near where the attack took place. Homesh is a former settlement that was meant to have been abandoned as part of a 2005 eviction — the so-called “disengagement” — but is now the site of the illegally operated religious school.

The 25-year-old was a father of a nine-month-old son and lived in the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron.

The vehicle that was fired on in a terror attack near the Homesh outpost in the West Bank, December 16, 2021. (Hillel Maeir/Flash90)

Israeli authorities often take punitive action such as home demolitions before a conviction in cases of terrorist attacks. Israel defends the practice of razing the family homes of attackers as a deterrent against future assaults, and officials have argued that speed is essential, claiming that the deterrent factor degrades over time.

Over the years, however, a number of Israeli defense officials have questioned the efficacy of the practice, and human rights activists have denounced it as unfair collective punishment.

Judah Ari Gross and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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