“We must use a punishment that would deter. We have to act with a tough hand, to negate social rights, to immediately destroy the homes of every terrorist from Jerusalem”, a government official quoted Olmert as saying.
Israeli prime minister (photo, from lepost.fr) wants to destroy the home of the driver who rammed a bulldozer into vehicules, killing three Israelis.
Though the state of emergency imposed on Wednesday was lifted the next day, police have reinforced patrols throughout Israel. And at checkpoints in the West Bank, additional precautions were taking by the army, after the attack in the busy Jaffa Road.
Official said that Ehud Olmert is “very worried” that both Wednesday’s attack and the shooting of seminary students earlier in March this year had been perpetrated by Palestinians from Arab East Jerusalem.
Police have said they believe that Hussam Dwayat, 30, who drove the bulldozer and was shot after the attack, acted alone, without being connected to any armed Palestinian group.
The demolition issue has been discussed on Thursday, when defence and legal officials met.
‘Not to renew this policy’
But in 2005, after an Israeli committee decided that the demolishing of homes did not dissuaded Palestinian fighters, Israel pledged to the supreme court that it will not demolish the homes of Palestinians involved in attacks on Israelis.
Yet, no formal court order was issued and the committee itself had declared that the practice would be halted.
On Thursday, a letter has been issued to the Israeli government by B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation. The document asked the authorities not to renew the policy of demolishing the homes of those involved in such attacks.
Avi Berg, a spokesperson for the group, told Al Jazeera: “The letter was issued in accordance with what we have heard in the media about [Israeli] intention. We stated again that this practice is illegal in accordance with international law.”
“We demanded them not to renew this policy”, Avi Berg added.
According to relatives, about 20 people live in the bulldozer (photo, from skynews.com) driver’s family home.
David Chater, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Jerusalem, said: “The papers are headlining the fact that both the prime minister and the defence minister want to look at the possibility of demolishing the home of the attacker because they say he is involved in a terrorist incident.”
However, the Israeli intelligence service has found no affiliations between Hussam Dwayat and any Palestinian resistance factions, said David Chater.
“But he did have a criminal record, he spent time in an Israeli prison for rape … he’s also been committed for theft offences.”
“Even his father is quoted as saying that his son had a drug problem. We also know that he had a very short temper.”
In the same time, Israel’s vice prime minister has said that, following Wednesday’s attack, he wants Palestinian neighbourhoods excluded from Jerusalem.
On Army Radio, Haim Ramon said that the Arab neighbourhoods were artificially incorporated into Jerusalem and should be ceded to the West Bank.
“They were annexed in 1967 and we call them Jerusalem, even though there is not one Jerusalemite there.”