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MKs to discuss bill preventing the government from pardoning Palestinian prisoners

Several members of the Israeli Knesset have proposed a bill that would prevent the Israeli government from pardoning Palestinian prisoners who are charged with "despicable crimes", Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported on Friday.

The newspaper noted that under the law, Israeli judges would be able to sentence criminals, including child murderers, to life in prison and make it impossible to release them in any future political deals. Palestinians arrested by the Israeli occupation authorities are already discriminated against because they are tried under separate military courts.

The bill is scheduled for a vote in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

The bill was put forward by a number of MKs, including: Ayelet Shaked, Shuli Mualem, Orit Strook and Moti Yogev of the Jewish Home Party; David Tzur of the Movement Party led by Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni; Yariv Levin of the Likud; Robert Ilatov of Yisrael Beiteinu; and Yisrael Hassoun of Kadima.

Under the proposed bill, Israeli courts have the right to sentence criminals, including those accused of committing "despicable crimes" like child murders, to life in prison while preventing the Israeli head of state from pardoning them or mitigating their sentences.

Estimates indicate that several Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu ministers will support the bill while ministers of the Yesh Atid party have not announced their official position yet.

The newspaper pointed out that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said she opposes the proposed bill because it harms the governments' ability to politically manoeuvre, referring to the deals her team made to re-launch the failed peace negotiations with the Palestinians last summer, which entailed Israel agreeing to release Palestinian prisoners in return for the Palestinians agreeing to hold talks while still under occupation.


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