Israeli leaders push for "terrorist" death penalty

Israeli leaders push for "terrorist" death penalty
Israeli leaders will submit a draft bill to parliament to enable death sentences for terrorism offences, aimed at Palestinians.
2 min read
18 December, 2017
Liberman has long been pushing for the death penalty for "terrorist" cases [AFP]
Israeli political leaders on Sunday agreed to submit a draft bill to parliament enabling capital punishment for "terrorists", Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party said in a statement.

Although the statement's wording was not explicit, the bill is aimed at Palestinians, in line with Lieberman's past pledges.
"Today the death penalty bill for terrorists has finally been approved by the coalition leaders' forum," the Hebrew-language announcement said, referring to the heads of the six political parties which comprise the governing coalition.

"The legislation should be very simple and very clear - a terrorist who comes to kill innocent civilians will be sentenced to death," it said.

The statement quoted Lieberman as saying that if passed into law, the bill would be a powerful deterrent and a counterweight to Palestinians' hopes that after a spell in jail they could be freed in a political deal or prisoner exchange.

In the most recent such deal, Israel in 2011 released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held captive in the Gaza Strip for five years.

"We must not allow terrorists to know that after a murder they have committed, they will sit in prison, enjoy (comfortable) conditions and may be released in the future," Lieberman wrote.

The statement did not set a date for the bill to be put before parliament.

It would need to pass four readings before becoming law, and could then risk being struck down by the Supreme Court.

Israeli military law in the occupied West Bank allows for the death penalty, but rarely delivers a death sentence and never carries it out, according to Israel's Haaretz newspaper.

The law within the borders of the Jewish state carries a death penalty for crimes against humanity and treason, but was last used when Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was convicted in 1961 and hanged a year later.