The IDF and Justice Ministry have decided not to demolish the family home of a Palestinian assailant who killed an Israeli man in Jerusalem earlier this year, due to his mental illness.
Abd al-Rahman Bani Fadel’s family home near Nablus was mapped out for demolition the day after he fatally stabbed Adiel Kolman in March, in keeping with the Israeli practice of razing homes of Palestinian terrorists.
But the Fadel family appealed the decision to the army, arguing that Fadel was not a terrorist, but had carried out the attack due to his mental state.
On Wednesday, the IDF spokesman announced that the Fadels’ home in the northern West Bank village of Aqraba would not be demolished, following “a thorough examination of the claims made by the terrorist’s family regarding his mental state and after reviewing the relevant documents presented.”
According to the Haaretz daily, IDF lawyers and Justice officials fear that if appealed, the decision to demolish the home of a mentally ill assailant would be overturned by the High Court of Justice on appeal.
But Kolman’s mother rejected the IDF and Justice Ministry’s assessment, and insisted that Fadel had targeted her son out of nationalistic motives.
“Its clear the terrorist was of a clear mind when he planned to murder a Jew… We don’t accept this decision,” Yael Kolman wrote in a letter to the IDF, according to the Ynet news site.
“If [Fadel] was competent enough to work, his house can be demolished. This decision needs to be thoroughly reexamined,” she said. “I’m looking for deterrence, not for vengeance. My son wasn’t murdered by a mentally ill person.”
Fadel, 28, fatally stabbed Kolman, a 32-year-old father of four in Jerusalem’s Old City where he worked as a security guard. Fadel attempted to flee the scene after the stabbing, but was spotted by nearby police officers who opened fire and shot him dead.
Fadel did not have known ties to any Palestinian terrorist organizations, and was in Israel at the time of the attack on a legal, multi-day work permit. He had already received similar work permits in the past, and there was no indication that the Shin Bet security service had been concerned that he had terrorist intentions.
Israel made frequent use of home demolitions until 2005, when the government decided to stop employing the measure. However, in 2014, it was brought back into use. There is a dispute among security analysts and officials over the utility of home demolitions in combating terrorism, with some seeing it as an effective deterrent against terror attacks and others as an ineffective form of collective punishment.
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