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New collective punishments against Palestinians include execution, exile 

January 3, 2023 at 11:57 am

Israeli policemen stand guard as Israeli right-wing Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir and Israeli settlers stage a demonstration in front of the Palestinian residents Salim family’s house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, 13 February 2022 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

There have been recent Israeli calls to enact new racist laws that can be classified as collective punishment and constitute a war crime. These laws call for the execution of the Palestinian perpetrators of commando operations and the deportation and exile of their families outside the borders of occupied Palestine.

The Israeli right, which has come to power, is seeking to achieve one of its electoral promises by imposing the death penalty on Palestinians. In light of the fascist character of the new government coalition, it seems that there is a clear majority for such a racist law.

Israeli right, especially Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, sought to make the imposition of the death penalty for Palestinian resistance fighters an essential clause in the government coalition agreements, and through a quick referendum among the parties supposed to participate in the nascent government, it seems that there is a clear majority for such a law.

Followers of this fascist approach claim that such a law would strengthen its ability to deal with the increasing resistance operations, which the Israeli occupation army has been unable to stop. Although it will be a controversial law, and it will face global condemnation, the Israeli goal is to eliminate the resistance and create a strong deterrent force against it.

READ: Palestine says Netanyahu’s denial of ‘occupation’ is a blow to supporters of two-state solution 

According to Ben-Gvir’s proposal, every Palestinian convicted of carrying out a commando operation that killed Israelis will be sentenced to death, meaning that the death penalty is compulsory, not discretionary, and it will not be possible to mitigate the sentence of those against whom a final sentence has been issued. A similar policy was presented to the Knesset in 2018 and previous polls have shown more than two-thirds of Israelis support the use of the death penalty.

Ben-Gvir is not the first to demand the enactment of such a bloody law. It was preceded by the demand of Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, and some Likud members who supported him. What is new today is that there is a right-wing coalition behind this fascist’s call.

It would not be surprising if such a law would be the subject of controversy if we take into account that the death penalty took place in Israel in only two cases, the first was Nazi Adolf Eichmann, and the second with an Israeli officer charged with treason.

Research on resistance fighters has proven with conclusive evidence that the death sentence does not deter them from carrying out attacks against the occupation. This means that issuing a death sentence will not reduce the number of Israeli deaths.

Perpetrators of resistance attacks carry them out knowing the possibility of their survival is zero, so fear of a possible death sentence would have no bearing on them, in fact it would offer them the reward of being martyrs and not spend their lives in Israeli jails. So what would the benefit of such a policy be? Is it to establish a heavily armed state which takes revenge on one individual?

Supporters of the law, however, claim it sends a message that the occupation does not compromise when it comes to the war on the resistance.

In addition to the Israeli call for the imposition of the death penalty, there were demands from the Likud Party, led by Netanyahu, to enact laws to deport the families of the perpetrators of armed attacks to Lebanon or the Gaza Strip, and to strip those with Israeli citizenship of their nationality. This is in spite of the fact that Palestinians often act alone as individuals and their families have nothing to do with their actions.

READ: Ben-Gvir makes coalition membership conditional on death penalty for Palestinians 

These Israeli measures showcase that Palestinians will face a series of collective punishments, as well as incursions, arrests and assassinations. The new Israeli government will open a new page of institutionalised violence and organised state terrorism through laws and legislation enacted by the Knesset, which is controlled by the fascist, racist right, which does not recognise the existence of the Palestinian people. It is issuing decisions and enacting laws to eliminate the Palestinian presence completely.

It will not succeed because Palestinians are the landowners and the occupation is nothing more than transitory.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.