Barak asks court to delay outpost home demolition


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Defense Minister Ehud Barak asked the Israeli Supreme Court to delay discussion on the demolition of homes in a West Bank outpost.

Barak, in a letter sent Wednesday to Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish, pointed out that Maj. Eliraz Peretz, who was killed in a confrontation on the Gaza border last month, was a resident of the Givat Hayovel outpost near the Eli settlement.

Peretz, his wife and four children were neighbors of Maj. Roi Klein, who was killed in the Second Lebanon War after jumping on a grenade to save his platoon. The families of the soldiers still live in their homes at the outpost.

"The shock and tragedy which hit this small community require a sensitive and humane treatment of the house demolition issue," Barak wrote. "Dealing with the demolition dates at this time should be postponed to a later date."

Also Wednesday, army Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi placed an Israeli flag on Peretz’s grave ahead of the national observance of Yom Hazikaron, Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers.

Peretz’s grave was chosen since he is Israel’s most recently fallen soldier.

Ashkenazi said that Peretz "always led from the front and fell first in line. The loving father and husband, the bereaved brother who chose to walk the path of his sibling Uriel, may he rest in peace, and who kept to his brother’s values — the values of Zionism, service in the IDF, camaraderie and faith — and who was buried, sadly, next to his brother." Uriel Peretz was killed in Lebanon in the 1990s.

Peace Now, which had appealed to the court to demolish the outpost’s homes, reportedly also plans to ask the court to delay an order on the homes’ demolitions, the Jerusalem Post reported.

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