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Israel approves law against pardoning Palestinian prisoners

September 23, 2014 at 11:28 am

The Constitutional Committee in the Israeli Knesset approved on Monday a law that will prevent exchanging Palestinian prisoners for captured Israelis.

Palestinian newspaper Al-Resalah reported that, “The Knesset unanimously approved a resolution aiming at restricting the chances of ending the life prison terms imposed on [Palestinian] prisoners convicted of killing crimes.”

According to the newspaper, this law targets Palestinian prisoners who were involved in armed clashes with Israeli occupation forces.

A life sentence, according to Israeli military law, normally equals 99 years. The Israeli military court had previously ruled that in exceptional and limited cases it could be as low as 20 years.

However, the new law approved by the Knesset prevents the court from giving any life sentences that are less than 40 years and prisoners will not be able to appeal for lessening their sentences until they have spent at least 15 years in prison.

Al-Resalah cited Israeli radio as saying that: “The new resolution was approved in the two sessions of the Knesset plenary.”

This law authorises the military court to decide that the alleged crimes – Palestinian operations against Israeli occupation forces – were committed under dangerous circumstances and thus this gives it the right to prevent listing the prisoners in any potential prisoners’ swap.