Israel court rejects demand to demolish home of Jewish militants


The family of a murdered east Jerusalem teenager said the ruling is 'unjust' because homes of Palestinian attackers are often demolished

A Palestinian man looks at a spray-painting as he inspects the damage after Jewish extremists torched a tractor south of Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on May 19, 2017 (AFP)
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Wednesday 5 July 2017 17:32 BST

Israel's top court has rejected a demand that the state demolish the homes of Jewish militants who murdered a Palestinian teenager in 2014, saying the petition was filed too late.

Yosef Haim Ben-David and two minor accomplices kidnapped 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir from Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem in July 2014, beating him up before burning him alive.

His body was found hours later in a forest in the western part of the city.

Ben-David was sentenced to life in prison in May 2016. The two minors were tried separatedly and were given sentences of life and 21 years in February 2016.

The victim's parents had appealed to then-defence minister Moshe Yaalon to act to demolish the homes of the three assailants as Israel does in cases of Palestinian attackers, a measure it says deters future potential assailants.

The defence ministry's legal advisor replied that they would not demolish the homes since the measure was a deterrent rather than punitive, noting there were few cases of such deadly Jewish attacks against Palestinians and the fact that the three were serving lengthy jail terms.

The Abu Khdeirs filed a petition to the supreme court in July 2016, which on Tuesday was rejected, primarily on the grounds the court case came some 22 months after the murder.

The justices stressed however that the provision allowing the demolition of assailants' homes could in theory be applied to "both Arab terrorists and Jewish terrorists, all according to the circumstances".

Speaking on military radio Wednesday, Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed's father, said the court ruling was "unjust" and discriminatory.