Homes of suspected kidnappers can be razed, Israel’s high court rules

(JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court dismissed objections to an order to demolish the homes of the suspected kidnappers and murderers of three Israeli teens in June.

In Tuesday’s ruling, the court said it found no reason to interfere in the razing of the homes by the Israeli army scheduled for Thursday.

The suspects’ families argued that the home demolitions constitute collective punishment and that the suspects have not yet been found guilty, according to Haaretz. They also argued that the decision was hypocritical because the army will not demolish houses of Jewish terrorists who kidnapped an Arab teen, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, last month.

But the court accepted the argument of the Israeli army, which said the home demolitions aim to deter Palestinians from future terrorist acts.  The court rejected the claim that the murders of the three teens and Khdeir are equal. The Israeli government has ruled that the kidnapping and murder of Khdeir was terrorism.

“I’m not overlooking the shocking case of the murder of the teenage boy Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a case that shocked the country and sparked wall-to-wall condemnations, but this was the rarest of rare occurrences,” Justice Yoram Danziger wrote in his decision, according to Haaretz. “Therefore, it seems to me there’s no place for the artificial symmetry claimed by the petitioners to support their claim of discriminatory enforcement.”

The three suspects — Amer Abu Aisheh and brothers Marwan and Hussam Qawasmeh — are accused of kidnapping and murdering Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach. Only Hussam Qawasmeh, who is suspected of aiding the kidnapping and murder, is in Israeli custody; the others remain at large.

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