Israeli High Court rejects terrorist family’s appeal, killer’s home to be destroyed

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled Monday that the demolition of the house of the terrorist who killed Ronen Lubarsky can proceed.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In a majority ruling, Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) rejected Monday the appeal filed by the family of Islam Yousef Abu Hamid against the demolition of their entire home following his indictment for murdering an IDF soldier.

The ruling comes two months after the IDF announced that the house of First Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky’s killer in al-Amari near Ramallah would be destroyed.

Hamid had dropped a 40-pound marble slab on the soldier’s head during an arrest operation his Duvdevan unit carried out in May at Hamid’s neighbor’s house. Lubarsky died two days later of his injuries.

Hamid is a known Hamas supporter, having spent five years, 2004-2009, in prison for his terrorist activities. He also has brothers who are currently jailed for terrorism offenses.

The family house that was the focus of the appeal had been illegally rebuilt after being destroyed by Israel in 1994 because of the role one of those brothers had played in the murder of a Shin Bet operative.

According to Israel’s Channel 20 News, Islam lived on the first floor with his mother, with the second floor housing the family of a brother serving a life sentence, the third floor being rented out, and the  top floor set aside to be his own home in the future.

The family had petitioned the court to allow only the demolition of the two floors directly connected to Lubarsky’s killer, if not to dismiss the order altogether.

The dissenting judge, George Kara, said that destroying the first and fourth floors was enough.

However, as Justice Yael Wilner explained in the majority ruling, although it was true that some people not involved in the attack would be hurt, “taking into account all the relevant considerations and in light of the importance of effective and significant deterrence in our case, and in general, in order to protect the safety of the citizens of the State, the incidental harm, however severe, did not justify reducing the scope of the demolition order.”

The Hamid family based another part of their appeal on the fact that their son hasn’t been convicted yet of Lubarsky’s murder, but Wilner rejected this argument as well, saying that Israeli military courts are allowed to order demolitions without awaiting a conviction.

Lubarsky’s father, who has been sharply critical of the delay in carrying out a complete demolition, reacted to the ruling with some relief.

Referring to the extreme leftist group Hamoked that helped the Hamid family with their petition, he said, “The delegitimizing organizations  try over and over to strengthen the terrorists. The High Court’s decision is a victory for sanity.”

He then repeated the plea he has made ever since Hamid was caught: “We just expect one more thing, and that’s imposing the death penalty on the terrorist who killed Ronen.”