Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Terrorist reactions to house demolitions indicate that the policy might be effective in discouraging attacks

This morning, the IDF demolished the home of the Hamas terrorist who killed  brothers Hallel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19, as they drove through Huwara in February.

I always wondered whether this policy actually deterred some terror attacks. Reading between the lines of the angry reactions from major terror groups, it appears that they may indeed act as a deterrent for at least some attacks.

Islamic Jihad issued a statement saying  "the demolition of the house of the martyr Abd al-Fattah Kharousha in Nablus will not weaken the resolve of the resistance fighters, but rather they will increase their determination and adherence to resistance and jihad....the crime of demolishing houses will not achieve the deterrence goals that the enemy army is looking for."

That is a lot of words to protest a policy that they claim is ineffective.

Similarly, the PFLP said, "The policy of demolishing the homes of the martyrs will only increase our people's determination to continue the path of freedom and dignity that was paved with the blood of our martyrs, the sacrifices of our families, and the struggles of our people with all its components."

Hamas said, "Our people and their factions will remain a support for our steadfast people who are targeted by the enemy by demolishing their homes and property. This struggling people will continue to unite with the heart of one man in the face of the occupier, until our rights are fully recovered, no matter how long it takes and no matter how much they sacrifice." It also said that this was "a Zionist policy of impotence, which proved its failure to quell the resistance and affect the morale of the fighters."

If the home demolition policy only encourages more terror, and these groups want to recruit more members, then why are they so insistent on how the policy is ineffective? These statements appear to be more a message to Israel to stop the demolitions and to their own people not to be deterred from attacking Jews because of the knowledge that their families will lose their homes.

Israeli authorities know far more. They interview the actual terrorists and know whether some of them say that the demolition policy affects their fellow terror group members. Almost certainly these interviews are what prompts Israel's High Court to continue to allow that policy, as the objective of discouraging terror attacks is a higher priority than the issue of collective punishment that is the usual argument by NGOs against the policy. 

This is indirect proof, of course, but the strident reactions to the destruction of Abd al-Fattah Kharousha's home in Nablus seem to indicate that the policy does indeed cause some militants to think twice before attacking, and the leaders of the terror groups are trying to quash that reluctance.

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