On Wednesday morning a powerful explosion ripped out the walls of Abdelrahman al Shaludi’s home. Al Shaludi is the Palestinian terrorist who committed the murderous attack against Israeli civilians two weeks ago.
“The destruction of terrorists’ homes sends a sharp, clear message to those who wish to harm Israeli civilians and security forces. That message says; terrorism and causing harm to innocents carries with it a heavy price,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement regarding the action.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue to demolish homes of families of East Jerusalem terrorists responsible for the murder of Jews in the past few weeks.
Netanyahu made the following statement on Wednesday evening: “We have nothing against the residents of eastern Jerusalem but we will not tolerate attacks on our citizens and we will act against those who perpetrate these attacks and against those engaged in incitement…with a determined and vigorous hand, we will restore security to Jerusalem.”
Another three terrorists’ families in east Jerusalem have been formally notified that their homes are slated for demolition. The families who have been notified are allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court within 48 hours. Many families do not bother appealing and simply move out of their homes.
One of the homes slated to be demolished is the home of Muhammed Jaabis, 23, from Jabel Mukaber. Jaabis rammed a construction vehicle into a bus on August 4, killing one person and wounding five. Police shot and killed him at the scene.
Another house set to be demolished is that of Mu’taz Hijazi, 32, from Abu Tor who attempted to assassinate Yehuda Glick on October 29. Glick was critically wounding in the attack. Hijazi was shot dead the next morning during a police raid.
A third home on the demolition list is that of terrorist Ibrahim al-Akary, 38, from Shuafat, who on November 5 rammed his car into a group of soldiers and pedestrians, killing two people and wounding nine others. He too was shot dead at the scene.
Israel has likewise pledged to raze the homes of Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal, from Jabel Mukaber, who on Tuesday were shot dead after perpetrating a horrendous attack in a synagogue during morning prayers. The two cousins attacked worshippers in a synagogue with meat cleavers and gun killing four rabbis and a Druze police officer.
According to Danny Seidemann, an Israeli lawyer and left-wing activist who tracks developments in East Jerusalem, this was the first punitive demolition in Jerusalem since April 2009.
On November 6, following two deadly Palestinian attacks in a fortnight, Netanyahu approved plans to knock down or seal up the homes of anyone who attacks Israelis as part of new measures to “restore calm” in Jerusalem.
The claim is that this policy is intended to create a deterrence against ‘lone-wolf’ style terrorists. Even if terrorists have no concern for their own lives, they may think twice about committing an attack for fear that their families will become homeless.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Yair Lapid called the demolition of terrorists’ homes an effective means to deter further attacks.“The terrorists must know that we will respond forcefully to their actions, he told Channel 2.“We must think of new ways to deal with terror,” added Lapid.
Washington however is not convinced of the effectiveness of this policy and warned that demolishing homes could be “counterproductive” and “exacerbate an already tense situation” in Jerusalem.
Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that the police are prepared to carry out house demolitions or sealings in east Jerusalem “as soon as a final government decision is given.”
He did comment on how many homes are set to be demolished.