Israel’s High Court Upholds House Demolitions
A three-judge panel rejected a petition brought by 35 Palestinian families whose homes are scheduled for demolition. The petitioners asked for a warning period of 48 hours before their homes were destroyed so they could oppose the action in court.
But the court ruled allowing such proceedings would endanger the lives of Israeli troops by leaving time for Palestinians to set booby traps or stage ambushes. The ruling left it to the military to decide whether hearings should be considered in some cases.
On Sunday, Israeli troops leveled nine homes in the West Bank, reviving a practice not used in several years. The Israeli government has said house demolitions are an effective method of deterring extremists and militants suspected of plotting terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.
But Palestinian Labor Minister Ghassan Khatib said the practice breaks international law and further punishes ordinary Palestinians.
“This is only going to deepen the hatred and consequently widen the cycle of violence,” he said.
In other military action, Israeli troops killed two Palestinian militants after a chase in the West Bank on Tuesday. One of the men was suspected of plotting a suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv.
Israel says Ali Ajouri, 23, planned a tandem suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv on July 17 that left three foreign workers and two Israelis dead. Both of the men killed were believed to be members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militia group linked to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement.
The Israeli military confirmed troops encountered the two wanted men in the village of Jabaa and killed them during an ensuing chase.
Despite the continuing violence, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer met with the Palestinian interior minister, Abdel Razak Yehiyeh, late Monday to discuss possible cease-fire proposals that could lead to an Israeli military withdrawal from some Palestinian areas.
Yehiyeh and other Palestinian officials are scheduled to meet later this week in Washington with Secretary of State Colin Powell.