State seeks dismissal of the petition against punitive house demolition in the Askar Refugee Camp: the demolition is to be executed in a manner causing “maximum damage” to the housing unit occupied by the suspect’s parents, with “minimal collateral damage” המוקד להגנת הפרט
21.10.2015
State seeks dismissal of the petition against punitive house demolition in the Askar Refugee Camp: the demolition is to be executed in a manner causing “maximum damage” to the housing unit occupied by the suspect’s parents, with “minimal collateral damage”
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On October 12, 2015, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to order the military to revoke a punitive house demolition order against a family home in the Askar refugee camp in Nablus. The order was issued against the housing unit where lived a young man suspected of committing a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv in November 2014. The unit is located on the ground floor of a two-storey residential building, where the young man lived with his parents and five siblings.

In its October 19, 2015 response, the state flatly rejected all the major arguments raised by HaMoked. The State repeated its position that a deterrent is needed given the current wave of terrorism in Israel and that house demolitions contribute to deterring potential attackers. In this context, the state noted that the court had rejected HaMoked’s public petition against the legality of Regulation 119 itself, which empowers the military commander to issue orders to demolish Palestinians’ homes.
 
At the same time, the state also argued that Regulation 119 is used through a balancing process, including a balance between the “severity of the attack and the scope of the sanction”, a balance between “the expected harm to the assailant’s family and the need to deter potential assailants” and a balance between “every person’s basic property rights and the state’s duty and right to maintain public security and order”.

The response failed to provide a sufficient explanation as to why it is necessary to demolish the entire unit occupied by the suspect’s parents rather than just sealing his room. The state, however, noted that, according to on the engineering expert opinion it obtained, “the optimal demolition method in the circumstances is using drilled explosive charges in some of the elements of the construction and small shock-sensitive explosive charges in some of the rooms”, which would allow for “maximum damage to the ground floor, while adhering to the principle of maximal completion the mission with minimal collateral damage”. The state also ignored the fact, as noted in HaMoked’s rejected objection to the demolition, that the family never supported the young man’s actions and was, in fact, embroiled in a long dispute with him. It therefore appears that the state has not carefully considered its decision and rather than help calm the violence, it fuels the cycle of hate while harming the innocent.
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