High Court okays home demolitions for alleged terrorists in Ariel attack

The High Court of Justice on Wednesday rejected appeals filed against the demolition of the houses belonging to the families of two Palestinians accused of a deadly shooting attack in Ariel in April.

In his ruling, Justice Yosef Elron said the demolition of houses was meant to prevent future attacks and save lives and was thus acceptable.

“The demolition of the appellants’ homes is not meant to punish them for the actions of the terrorists or as means of ‘revenge,’ but to save the lives of others, and to prevent other families from experiencing the terrible anguish inflicted on Vyacheslav Golev’s family,” Elron said.

Golev, 23, was gunned down inside a guard booth at the gate to the settlement of Ariel on April 29 by Palestinian assailants Youssef Sameeh Assi and Yahya Marei, according to the IDF.

Golev used his body to shield his fiancée, Victoria Fligelman, from the hail of bullets, saving her life. The couple both worked as security guards at the settlement and would regularly do their shifts together.

On May 7, Assi’s and Marei’s families were informed that their homes in the West Bank town of Qarawat Bani Hassan were slated for demolition and were given the chance to appeal the order.

An undated photo of Vyacheslav Golev, a security guard who was killed in a terror attack at Ariel on April 29, 2022, and his fiancée, Victoria Fligelman. (Courtesy)

As a matter of policy, Israel demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks. The efficacy of the policy is controversial within the Israeli security establishment, and human rights activists have denounced it as unfair collective punishment. Israeli law does not require attackers to have been convicted before their homes are demolished.

Former Supreme Court justice George Kara, who retired from the judiciary system last month, was known for strongly opposing the demolition of houses as a deterrent measure, claiming it “inevitably harms the innocent” and “serves as a collective punishment” that has no justification.

Kara was in the minority among Supreme Court justices on the issue, however.

Israeli troops map out the home of an alleged Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, May, 1, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Amid several recent deadly attacks in Israel and the West Bank, Israel also announced in May that it was revoking the entry permits of over 1,100 Palestinians whose relatives were involved in terror attacks.

“Any Palestinian who thinks of choosing the way of terror should know that the attack he commits will critically harm his family,” an official said at the time.

“This is an effective tool meant to deter potential terrorists from carrying out terror attacks… The security establishment is working with all agencies and in full capacity. We will exact a heavy toll from the terrorists, their accomplices and those who incite terror,” another official added.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report. 

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