“The home of an entire family shouldn’t be demolished for the action of one individual,” the Americans pontificated. But the arrogance was only beginning.
By NITSANA DARSHAN-LEITNER JULY 22, 2021 19:55
| The US State Department reach a new level of sanctimonious ridiculousness when, after the IDF destroyed the home of a Palestinian lone-wolf terrorist who killed one teenager and critically maimed another in a drive-by shooting, the US Embassy in Jerusalem issued an official communique lambasting the Israeli action. “The home of an entire family shouldn’t be demolished for the action of one individual,” the Americans pontificated. But the arrogance was only beginning. “All parties [must] refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution,” the communique continued, “and this certainly includes the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes.”
Unilateral steps? What could be a more unilateral step than a 44-year-old Palestinian man deciding to drive by a bus stop and open fire on a group of Jews? In the pure legal definition, the terrorist committed first-degree murder. His actions define premeditation. He did it in early May. The terrorist, Muntasir Shalabi from the West Bank town of Turmus Ayya, placed an automatic weapon in a car and traversed the roadways near Tapuah Junction in search of Israelis to kill. He came across three yeshiva students waiting for a bus to take them to their school and unleashed a lethal fusillade. 19-year-old Yehuda Guetta was killed in the attack; 19-year-old Benaya Peretz was shot in the back and paralyzed.
As the president of Shurat HaDin, a human rights legal group that fights for the rights of terror victims, I represent the Guetta and Peretz families. I have seen the anguish in the eyes of the bereaved parents. I have heard the pain of a young man learning that he will never separate from his wheelchair.How outrageous is the audacity of US President Joe Biden’s administration that its response equates cold-blooded murder with punitive measures that have been used successfully for years, since the British Mandate, to punish those who perpetrate acts of terror murder and to deter those who might follow in their footsteps.
In a landscape where terrorists care little about their own lives and blow up buses, take hostages and murder Jews, the demolition of a terrorist’s house makes those who want to strap an explosive vest on their bodies or shoot up teenagers at a bus stop think twice before carrying out their homicidal actions. There are countless examples of Palestinian fathers bringing their sons to the attention of the Palestinian Authority security services because they feared that their boys were about to perpetrate an attack that would ultimately result in the family home being destroyed. The deterrence power is irrefutable and that deterrence saves lives.
The State Department was angry about the loss of a building. Why were they not angry about the loss of life? A building can be repaired and rebuilt. Yehuda Guetta is dead, and Benaya Peretz will be paralyzed for the rest of his life. Their homes are destroyed for good.
|It needs to be pointed out that the homes of terror suspects are not being demolished on a whim. They are the result of a lengthy legal process that must satisfy the criteria of the court; the decision to blow up a home must pass numerous military and judicial thresholds before the orders are issued. There are appeal processes that make their way through the judiciary. There’s nothing unilateral about it. In the Shalabi case, a petition was filed with a High Court of Justice to stop the combat engineers from wiring the structure with explosives. But it failed and the orders to blow up the house were issued.
The US Embassy went so far as to send representatives to observe the courtroom arguments and to make sure that they were carried out to the letter of the law. The legal effort to stop the demolition was not successful. And this was the doubling down of hypocrisy. The US Embassy in Jerusalem didn’t send representatives to pay their condolences to the Guetta family nor did it send an emissary to the hospital to sit at Benaya’s bedside. There were no public statements of American anger over the shooting attack, and the US State Department never bothered to condemn the senseless murder of an innocent teenager waiting at a bus stop. Why would it? Israeli victims have become too commonplace to warrant any interest from American or other governments who continuously look at Jewish victims as acceptable losses in a larger game of appeasement.
The US should know better. After 9/11, when it declared a global war on terror to prevent further acts of catastrophic destruction, all bets were off. American and allied forces arrested and tortured countless Afghans and Pakistanis and held them at Guantanamo Bay without trial – even to this day – in a clear violation of their human rights. Perhaps the US should preach what it practices.
The only unilateral action taken in this tragic affair was the cold-blooded murder of a teenager and the crippling of another by a Palestinian terrorist. Israel’s actions were responsive and measured, designed to limit the collateral damage and heartache of more innocent men, women, and children, being murdered.
The writer is the president of Shurat HaDin, a civil rights organization that fights in the courts on behalf of the State of Israe