Arguing with the U.S. over House Demolitions

(Jerusalem Post) Mark Regev - The IDF has issued a demolition order for the home of Hamas activist Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, who in November murdered Eliyahu Kay and injured four others in Jerusalem's Old City. The Biden administration disagrees with Israel's policy of house demolitions, which seemingly involves a punitive act against those not accused of any wrongdoing who share a common dwelling with a terrorist. The Israeli government counters that the requirements of effective counterterrorism necessitate the selective use of procedures that may fall outside conventional judicial practice. The policy preference must always be the prevention of terrorism in the first place. A lengthy prison term is unlikely to be a practical deterrent for many terrorists. If the terrorist has no qualms whatsoever about murdering innocent civilians, they will at least be forced to consider the possible ramifications of their actions upon their family. Israel's policy of demolishing the homes of terrorists serves to even out the playing field and to discourage and de-incentivize terror. Of course, no house can be destroyed without giving its inhabitants adequate opportunity to seek a reprieve from Israel's High Court of Justice. The internationally respected court assesses each demolition on a case-by-case basis. Moreover, the Israel Security Agency, the key agency dealing with Palestinian terrorism, attests to the policy being a proven deterrent to potential terrorists as well as having encouraged numerous family members to pro-actively take steps that prevented attacks. It would be folly to remove from the counterterrorism toolbox a means that, according to security professionals, saves lives. The writer, formerly an adviser to the prime minister, is a senior visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies.

2022-01-20 00:00:00

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