The military announced Friday that it intended to demolish the family home of Palestinian terrorists who killed an Israeli man and seriously wounded two others in a recent shooting attack on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street.
On March 9, Mutaz Salah al-Khawaja opened fire outside a cafe, critically wounding Or Eshkar – who died 11 days later – and injured his friends Rotem Mansano and Michael Osdon as they went to a wedding.
Al-Khawaja then fled the scene before being shot shortly afterwards by officers and civilians.
After the attack, troops raided his hometown of Ni’lin in the West Bank to measure the house in preparation for its demolition, which has now been ordered by the Israel Defense Forces.
As a matter of policy, Israel routinely demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terrorist attacks. The policy’s effectiveness has been hotly debated even within Israel’s security establishment, and human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.
Al-Khawaja’s family can still appeal the decision to raid the house to Israel’s High Court of Justice. But such efforts are rarely successful, but in some cases the court can limit the demolition order to the parts of the house used by the terrorists only.
The shooting comes amid heightened tensions over the past year as Israeli forces have stepped up arrest raids and other counter-terrorism efforts in the West Bank following a series of terror attacks.
Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 15 Israelis dead and many others injured.
At least 86 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them in attacks or clashes with security forces, although some were unrelated civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.
Settler violence against Palestinians has also increased in recent months.