The Israeli Supreme Court Cripples Efforts to Deter Terrorism

August 18, 2020 | Ruthie Blum
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On May 12, an IDF unit entered a Palestinian village to arrest four terrorists; as they were leaving, locals began dropping bricks and cinder blocks on them from rooftops. One of them, Nizmi Abu Bakr, took careful aim and hit a young soldier, Ami Ben-Yigal, squarely on the head, killing him.

Abu Bakr has since then been apprehended and faces jailtime. But the Israeli high court, responding to a petition from a self-styled human-rights group, has barred the IDF from demolishing his home. Contrary to what the court’s ruling claims, such demolitions—which the IDF has employed as a counterterror measure for many years—are not primitive acts of revenge, as Ruthie Blum writes:

Encouraging violence against Israelis in schoolbooks and the media, the Palestinian Authority (PA) completes the circle by paying hefty stipends to terrorists and their families. Abu Bakr’s wife and children have undoubtedly begun to collect their salary for his slaying of Ben-Yigal. In addition, if they are patient, they have good cause to hope that one day in the not-so-distant future Abu Bakr will be released from jail in a “prisoner-swap” deal.

This presents a deterrence problem that Israel only has been able to reduce—certainly not to solve—through home demolitions. Just as the PA invites and incites terrorism by rewarding the families of terrorists, Israel curbs it somewhat by holding those families accountable in a manner that causes would-be perpetrators to think twice before embarking on missions that might have a negative effect on their parents, spouses, and/or children. Abu Bakr is no exception.

That left-wing activists consider this extremely mild form of deterrence—culled from assessments of the culture in which the Palestinians are submerged—a cruel form of “collective punishment” is par for the course. But the Supreme Court is not supposed to base its rulings on the political biases of its judges. Sadly, however, many of these consider it not only their job to overturn government moves that they oppose, but their moral imperative to do so.

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