This is an argument against destroying the family home of the Palestinian teenager who stabbed Israeli-American Ari Fuld to death in a terror attack. What’s significant is that the BESA think tank publishing this is known as hard-line, usually opposing such thinking. The article implies that destroying homes as a policy has run its course–if it was ever effective as deterrence in the first place, which I doubt.
It turns out that the family of the teenage terrorist warned both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli military that their son was likely to carry out an attack, but the warnings came too late to stop it. The author questions whether, in a case like this, destroying the home would be deterrence–noting, again in an unusual twist for this think tank, that collective punishment in occupied territory violates international law. He notes that Israel’s Supreme Court up to now has accepted the military’s argument that destroying houses is a deterrent measure, not collective punishment.
It can be argued, however, that the threat of destruction of a family home could impel family members to inform authorities that one of their members is about to carry out an attack. That said, destroying this particular house, under the circumstances, would undermine that very notion.
Israel has been destroying homes of terrorists for decades. It’s supposed to deter others from carrying out attacks. In my experience, it has the opposite effect, radicalizing additional members of the affected families and increasing hatred against Israel.
If this article leads to a change in the policy, I, for one, would welcome it. The costs of destroying houses outweigh the benefits.