CRF Blog

Demolition Derby

by Bill Hayes

In Demolition Derby for Foreign Policy magazine, Gregg Carlstrom looks at how in the wake of renewed terrorism, Israel is reviving its policy of demolishing the homes of accused terrorists.

“When you’re dealing with people who have no qualms whatsoever about killing themselves in order to kill others, deterrence is a problem,” Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, told Foreign Policy on Nov. 24. “How do you deter someone who’s willing to kill themselves in order to get others?”

It’s a question the Israeli army established a commission to study over a decade ago, though, the group ultimately concluded that home demolitions were not the answer. The panel, headed by Gen. Udi Shani and convened as the Second Intifada died down in late 2004, was the first serious study on the subject, and its findings were stark: “There is no proof of the deterrent effect of house demolitions,” it reported, after speaking with everyone from military officers to philosophers. As a result, the policy was largely suspended. [more]