August 7, 2008 - 5:04pm

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday instructed the security establishment to take initial steps leading to the demolition of the home of the Palestinian terrorist who gunned down eight yeshiva students in Jerusalem in March.

The house is situated in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.

Alaa Abu Dhaim, the gunman, killed seven teenage boys and one 26-year-old, as well as wounding nine others, when he burst into the Mercaz Harav seminary in Jerusalem's Kiryat Moshe neighborhood and opened fire in the library.
Barak reached the decision after consulting with senior officials in the Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet security service, and the police.

The decision also allows, however, for the terrorist's family to petition against the demolition, by submitting an appeal to GOC Home Front Command Maj. Gen. Yair Golan in the next seven days.

If Golan rejects the petition, the family will then be given a further week to appeal to the High Court.

Jerusalem's mayor, Uri Lupolianski, welcomed Barak's decision. In a statement he said it would serve as a deterrent and a clear message that any terrorist who sets out to harm or kill Israelis will bring suffering on his own family. He noted that most of Jerusalem's Arabs are law-abiding.

Barak instructed security establishment legal advisers to investigate the possibility of shortening the legal procedures related to the demolition of terrorists' homes in East Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Barak have recently declared their support for such moves after terror attacks. Israel has previously refrained from home demolitions in East Jerusalem in recent years, and ceased to do so in the West Bank in 2005 on the recommendation of an IDF panel.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017