Israel’s High Court of Justice on Tuesday ruled that it will not accept petition to demolish the homes of three Israelis who were convicted of kidnapping 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir and burning him back in 2014.
The petition was carried out by Abu Khdeir’s family in July 2016, two years after the murder.
Supreme Court Vice President Elyakim Rubinstein explained in the judgment that the court was rejecting the petition to demolish the homes of Yosef Haim Ben-David — along with two Israeli minors who took part in the kidnapping and murder — because too much time had passed between the murder and the date of the petition’s filing.
Abu Khdeir was kidnapped by Ben-David and his two accomplices on the morning of June 2, 2014, while he was outside the local mosque in Shuafat neighbourhood, East Jerusalem, when he was forced into a car, taken to a forest outside Jerusalem, beaten and burned alive. His remains were found by Israeli police the following morning.
Ben-David was convicted on charges of murder, kidnapping for the purpose of murder, and battery causing bodily harm in April of last year, and was sentenced to life in prison with an additional 20 years. His accomplices were also convicted of murder. One was sentenced to life in prison and the other to 21 years in prison. Each minor was also ordered to pay the Abu Khdeir family NIS 30,000 ($7,700) in reparations.
Justice Neil Hendel wrote that, one can “understand the feelings of the victim’s family, which submitted the petition. And yet, [home demolitions] are a preventative tool, not a punishing tool. We must remember that the perpetrators underwent legal proceedings, they were convicted, and were given lengthy sentences.”
This petition was rejected while Israel continues to demolish family homes of Palestinians who have carried out any attacks against Israeli settlers or soldiers. The demolitions of Palestinian homes take place within hours or days from the attacks, even when the alleged attacker is shot dead or detained.