[JURIST] Israel’s Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a petition filed [Haaretz report] by eight human rights groups and four Israeli families against a policy of demolishing terrorists’ homes . The four families’ homes in east Jerusalem all have impending demolition orders. The attorney for the organizations argued the policy, Section 119 of the emergency defense regulations, had not been reviewed for several years and that there have been many developments in international law since the 1980s. Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, who wrote the court’s opinion, rejected the petition because the court has previously ruled on the issue. He further said that the practice is used infrequently and had been used for years, and that section 119 is necessary because of the cruel circumstances of the actions of those accused. Regarding a fifth family joined in the petition, Justice Rubinstein ordered the state [AFP report] to provide data on the justification of demolishing the home. The court did not reject the appeal of the family of Muataz Hijazi because, although he attempted to kill a Jewish activist, there was no loss of life.
Israel has received criticism for home demolition for several years. In November UN human rights experts urged [JURIST report] the Israeli government to end use of house demolition as a punitive measure, stating it is a violation of human rights law and violate the rights of people, including children, who are not accused of a crime. Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] asked the Israeli government in 2008 to stop official plans to demolish or confiscate the homes of those suspected of terrorism, calling such plans a violation of international law. The policy was initiated in 2000 in an attempt to deter terrorists who did not want to leave their families homeless, or to encourage families to turn in those plotting attacks.