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Israel considering death penalty… but only for Palestinian prisoners

Israeli security forces can be seen arresting Palestinians on 15 October 2015 [Muammar Awad/Apaimages[

The Israeli Knesset approved on Wednesday a first reading of the death penalty bill which would allow the authorities to execute Palestinian prisoners accused of taking part in “operations against Israeli targets,” Anadolu has reported. The bill was proposed by the right-wing leader of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennet; it was approved by a vote of 52 to 49 but needs a second and third reading before it becomes law.

Extremist Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Moldovan-born Defence Minister, endorsed the bill, which he said would increase Israel’s deterrence effect. In televised comments last week, Lieberman said that the law would specifically target Palestinians convicted of attacking Israeli civilians and soldiers.

Last year, at a rally following the death of three Israeli police officers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his support for the death penalty for Palestinians, whom he described as “terrorists with blood on their hands.”

Human rights report: Israel punishes Palestinian prisoners and their families by paying arbitrary fines

Israel applies civilian law to illegal Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians, however, face military courts and military law. The proposed death penalty would only be applicable in military courts. In the already unlikely event of an Israeli being convicted for killing a Palestinian, the accused would never face the death penalty.

“The fact that Israel lacks a constitution allows its prime ministers to enact legislation that serves the interests of their respective racist governments,” explained Mohammed Dahleh, a Palestinian expert on Israeli affairs. “Israel refuses to adopt a constitution. This also allows it to create laws — or modify them — to suit its expansionist tendencies.”


According to international lawyer Yasser Al-Amouri, the proposed Israeli law violates basic international legal tenets. “The conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis is not criminal in nature but nationalist,” he pointed out. “This means Israel cannot sentence Palestinian prisoners to death under the provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the treatment of prisoners of war.”

One commentator in London suggested that this legal nicety wouldn’t make any difference. “Israel already treats international laws and conventions with contempt,” said MEMO’s senior editor Ibrahim Hewitt, “so why would it sit up and take notice of this point? The state is guilty of the crime of apartheid, and this bill demonstrates that fact.”

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  • charliematerne

    Interestingly omitted from this prop piece is that Netanyahu is catching hell for saying the death penalty law would also apply to Jewish terrorist acts. But then, facts don’t really matter in a propaganda piece intended to bash Israel

    • OOTrist

      Yes, one could be forgiven for thinking this is the Ramallah Daily Echo.

  • Well, look at how many people the U.S. or China executes every year. I’m surprised that Israel doesn’t have the death penalty, to be honest.

  • alejandro casalegno

    The occupation is a slow death…………all menbers of the resistance know they are dead men………in combat or execution???. nobody cares!!!

  • Tobiasz Brinek

    Israel, being the only Middle Eastern, modern, democratic country respecting individual rights in the spirit of The Western Civilization, being the only Middle Eastern country where women are politically recognized as full human beings, being the only Middle Eastern country secularized enough to recognize the freedom of belief, being the only non-theocratic Middle Eastern country, being the only Middle Eastern country where not only natives, but also foreigners – not only Jews, but also Palestinians and many others – are free to embrace their existence without the threat of being jailed or murdered for being an ‘infidel’ is a country that not only deserves to exist, to be left alone without repressions, but also the country that deserves the full support of Western allies in fighting against the theocratic, islamic terrorism.