Should terrorists' homes be bulldozed?

Since the Six-Day War of 1967, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have bulldozed or otherwise destroyed thousands of 'Palestinian' terrorists' homes.

It's a practice that originated during the Arab Revolt of 1936-39, when British commanders would confiscate and demolish homes of people involved in rebel violence.

Boris Johnson wrote about it after the London transport bombings of 7 July 2005:

If we were Israelis, we would by now be doing a standard thing to that white semi-detached pebbledash house at 51 Colwyn Road, Beeston [home of Shehzad Tanweer, one of the bombers]. Having given due warning, we would dispatch an American-built ground-assault helicopter and blow the place to bits. Then we would send in bulldozers to scrape over the remains, and we would do the same to all the other houses in the area thought to have been the temporary or permanent addresses of the suicide bombers and their families.

After decades of deranged attacks the Israelis have come to the conclusion that this is the best way to deter Palestinian families from nurturing these vipers in their bosoms, and also the best way of explaining to the death-hungry narcissists that they may get the 72 black-eyed virgins of scripture, but their family gets the bulldozer.

The effectiveness of house demolition as deterrence is debated, but as punishment it seems entirely fitting.

Moreover unlike, say, seizing assets of terrorists and those who harbour them, the highly visible act of bulldozing or blowing up buildings to leave gaping holes where terrorists once plotted is in itself powerfully symbolic.

Perhaps we should try it after the next Islamist bombings.


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