On April 6, 2022, the High Court of Justice (HCJ) unanimously approved the demolition of an apartment encompassing the entire second floor of a four-story house in the village of Silat al-Harithiya in the West Bank. The apartment is the home of a woman whose husband has been indicted for involvement in the fatal shooting of an Israeli on December 16, 2021, and is owned by the woman’s father-in-law. Three homes have already been demolished in the village in response to the shooting. In all three cases, HaMoked’s petitions against the demolitions were rejected.
The HCJ rejected HaMoked’s petition unanimously. Justice Amit refused to consider HaMoked’s principled argument that punitive demolitions constitute collective punishment prohibited under international law, and ruled that the precedent approving this measure remains binding and that there was no call to revisit the issue. The Court also rejected HaMoked’s claim that a demolition order should not be issued in the present case as the man was not present at the shooting, but is accused of more remote involvement.
HaMoked objected to an ex parte review by the Court of an updated security opinion regarding the effectiveness of using Regulation 119 for the purpose of deterrence. The Court ruled that “in view of this objection, the Respondents enjoy the presumption of administrative regularity, whereby it should be presumed that the classified opinion does in fact substantiate their claims”. Justice Baron addressed at length this issue of alleged effectiveness for deterrence, and wrote: “Regrettably, the deterring power inherent in the demolition of homes is at the very least uncertain. Not a few question marks surround the effectiveness of using this measure and in my opinion, the classified opinions on the issue presented before us from time to time do not fully address them. Naturally, even the professionals have difficulty quantifying to what degree home demolitions prevent terror attacks; or the alternate possibility – that this measure only increases hate and violence towards Jews and Israeli citizens”.
It should be noted that, as has become customary in recent years, the Court allowed the father of the man killed in the attack to say a few words to the Court, and this was noted in the judgment.