Photo Credit: Flash90
Nazmi Abu Bakr, the terrorist who murdered Israeli soldier Amit Ben Yigal, arrives for military court hearing, June 25, 2020.

The High Court of Justice on Monday overturned the demolition order for the home of the terrorist Nazmi Abu-Bakr who murdered Sergeant Amit Ben Yigal.

The late Sergeant Amit Ben Yigal H’yd, a Golani special forces fighter, was killed during an operational activity in the village of Ya’bad last May. He was hit by a stone that hit his head and died of his wounds shortly thereafter. The terrorist who threw the stone, Nazmi Abu-Bakr, was captured by security forces after an investigation that lasted a month and a half.

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Supreme Court justices Menny Mazuz and George Karra constituted the majority opinion against the demolition of the murder’s home. Mazuz wrote in his ruling: “Exercising this authority involves a serious violation of a number of basic rights, including the violation of property and the violation of human dignity and a number of rights derived from the basic law protecting human dignity.”

Amit Ben Yigal / IDF Spokesperson

Justice Yael Wilner, appointed by former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, was of the minority opinion that the order should be carried out.

Mazuz also wrote that the petitioners, Abu-Bakr’s wife and eight children, “are not accused by respondents of any involvement in the criminal acts of the father of the family – neither in assistance, nor in knowing his intention to take action, nor as accessories after the crime. The perpetrator himself was captured and prosecuted, and is expected to serve long prison sentences if convicted, hence the damage to the home is first and foremost an injury to his wife and children who remain living there, and the demolition would leave them homeless.”

Justice Karra, a Christian Arab from Jaffa, challenged the entire policy of demolishing homes belonging to terrorists, and wrote: “Continuation of this policy while relying on the assessment of security officials that it is a deterrent and avoiding a matter-of-fact and in-depth discussion of the issues of principle raised by this regulation, is difficult to comprehend in my view. The continued use of this tool, which entails serious harm to innocent people, constitutes collective punishment.”

Judge Wilner wrote that “the waves of terrorism that have swept the State of Israel in recent years require effective deterrence against carrying out further attacks in the future. Against this background, the exercise of the authority given to the military commander in Regulation 119 (allowing the demolition of homes – DI) for such deterrence, is an unfortunate necessity. This despite the difficulty which is naturally inherent in the damage to the property of family members who were not involved in the criminal acts of their family member – the perpetrator. ”

The demolition order was intended for an apartment on the third floor of the family-owned building, where Abu Bakr lived. Abu Bakr’s wife, children and brothers and their families all live in the building. An IDF engineering opinion stated that “there is a low probability that the demolition will cause structural damage to the building, and if such damage is caused, it will be of a low magnitude.” It also stated that “there is a low risk of causing un-constructive damage to structures adjacent to the structure,” and that “there is a low probability that nearby electricity infrastructure will be damaged locally.”

MK Matan Kahana (Yamina) tweeted in response to the ruling: “Shame and disgrace! It appears that the High Court of Justice has decided to systematically dismantle Israeli deterrence and award a prize to terrorism. The High Court’s decision to protect the home of a terrorist, the murderer of an IDF soldier, is an inconceivable scandal. This is only two months after the court prevented the demolition of the house of the terrorist who murdered Dvir Sorek Hy’d. Preventing the demolition of terrorist homes is a huge reward for terrorism.”

Im Tirtzu, which accompanies the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families, issued a statement saying: “The High Court has proven time after time that it places a greater importance on the property of the families of terrorists than on the lives of Israelis – Jews and Arabs alike. We call on Defense Minister Gantz to disregard the High Court’s ruling and destroy the home of the terrorist.”

“This is another dark day for the High Court of Justice,” Im Tirtzu concluded.

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