Destruction of house in outpost adjacent to Kochav HaShahar; Video credit: Free use
Monday, March 21, 2022, 20:00 On Monday, March 21, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court rejected the police request for a three-day remand extension for a resident of one of the hilltop communities adjacent to Kochav HaShahar whose house was destroyed that morning. He was released under restrictive conditions. During the hearing, Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who represented the detainee, claimed that the detention had been illegal. The detainee, who lost all of his property during the destruction, did not act violently towards the policemen. He had barricaded himself by securing himself to a special device to make it difficult for the security forces to remove him from his house and to delay the destruction of the outpost.
In her decision, the judge did not rule on the legality of the outpost, but rather ruled that the detainee, a father of two children, was completely non-violent and did not pose a danger necessitating a remand extension. Nevertheless, the judge decided to distance the detainee from the hilltop on which he lives for one month.
The above-mentioned detainee arrived at the hearing with another detainee who was detained that morning at the destruction of two outposts adjacent to Kochav HaShahar in the Binyamin region. Following the release of the first detainee by the judge, the police released the second detainee before his hearing. In total, Honenu handled six detainees. The other four detainees were released at the police station.
Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who is representing the detainee, stated after the hearing that "this morning, the Yehuda and Shomron District Police set out on a mission with a force of approximately 400 policemen to destroy approximately twenty residential structures and two synagogues. My client, the father of two small children, found himself lacking everything. His house was destroyed, all of his belongings – including the baby's crib and the family's books – were out in the open, and their dog was dead. He did not know what had happened to his wife and children, and he was detained. The Israel Police came, asked to extend his remand by three additional days, and even went so far as to announce that they were going to indict him. But the court released him, ruling on the same conditions as for Arabs in East Jerusalem who barricaded themselves with gas tanks, threatened attacks, threw rocks and violently injured policemen. Here, there was a man who lost everything that he had, in one day, and chose non-violent, democratic protest that is protected by freedom of expression. It is sad to see that the Yehuda and Shomron District Police decided to bring him to a hearing for a remand extension, and we are pleased that he was released by the court and that the Israel Police decided to release the other detainee."
Early in the morning on Monday, March 21, approximately 400 soldiers, Yassam (Special Forces) policemen and border policemen destroyed a total of more than 20 buildings, including the houses of eight families, on several hilltops around Kochav HaShahar in the Binyamin region. Two synagogues were destroyed, one of which was built in memory of Ahuvia Sandak, z"l, in Ma'oz Esther, where he was living at the time of his death, and the house that Ahuvia built was also among the destroyed houses. Severe police brutality was reported, and significant damage was caused to the property of the residents, in addition to the destruction of the houses themselves.