IDF to raze home of Palestinian terrorist who killed Israeli-American Elan Ganeles

Military notifies family of Maher Shalloun, indicted for murder over February 27 shooting on West Bank highway, that its home near Jericho is slated for demolition

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

Elan Ganeles, who was killed in a terror shooting in the West Bank, February 27, 2023. (Courtesy of Consulate General of Israel in New York)
Elan Ganeles, who was killed in a terror shooting in the West Bank, February 27, 2023. (Courtesy of Consulate General of Israel in New York)

The Israeli military on Thursday informed the family of Maher Shalloun, a Palestinian charged with killing dual American-Israeli citizen Elan Ganeles in a terror attack earlier this year, that its home is slated for demolition.

On February 27, Shalloun, along with driver Luai Ma’arouf, allegedly opened fire at Ganeles’s car on the Route 90 highway near Jericho in the West Bank, killing him, before opening fire at several other cars in the area. The pair then set fire to their car as they fled the area toward Jericho.

The alleged shooters, residents of the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp near Jericho, were detained by Israeli troops on March 1, just days after the deadly highway attack.

A week later, the Israel Defense Forces took measurements of Shalloun’s home, in the first step before its demolition.

Shalloun’s family was formally notified of the military’s intention to raze their home, the IDF said Thursday. The home of Ma’arouf, the driver in the attack, was also expected to be measured for potential demolition.

Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as a matter of policy. 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.

Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley, near the West Bank city of Jericho, February 27, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

Shalloun’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 accused terrorist.

In May, indictments were filed against Shalloun and Ma’arouf, charging them with intentionally causing death — the military court’s equivalent of murder — and other offenses.

The pair were to be held until the end of legal proceedings.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the Israeli military conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank, in the wake of a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 20 people and left several more seriously hurt.

At least 115 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that span, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

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