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Knesset set to discuss Israeli draft law to legalize 'death penalty law for Palestinian prisoners'

November 18, 2023 at 10:07 pm

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (C) in Jerusalem, Israel. on October 30, 2023 [Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images]

The Knesset is set to discuss a controversial draft law on “executing Palestinian prisoners,” Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said Saturday, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The Knesset will discuss on Monday preparations for the first reading of the death penalty law for Palestinian prisoners,” he was quoted by the Maariv newspaper on its website.

Ben Gvir pointed out that the Otzma Yehudit, or Jewish Power, party he leads “is the one that submitted the draft law to execute Palestinian prisoners,” adding that the draft “is expected to receive support by all members of the Knesset.”

Israel abolished the death penalty in 1954. Since then, it has applied long-term imprisonment that may be hundreds of years.

Last March, the Knesset approved, in a preliminary reading, a draft law that allows a return of the death penalty for Palestinian prisoners convicted of killing Israelis.

It was submitted by Ben Gvir and supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was met with a wave of Palestinian opposition.

The death penalty law has been proposed in Israel more than once in recent years, but the Knesset refused to legislate it.

The draft law needs to pass three readings in the Knesset to become effective.

Israel detains more than 7,000 Palestinians in its prisons, including women and children, according to Palestinian sources.

The Israeli army said Hamas has been detaining 239 Israelis — both military and civilian — in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, after an attack by the Palestinian resistance group.

It has since killed more than 12,000 victims, most women and children, flattened thousands of civilian structures, and enforced a full blockade leading to a shortage of supplies, including food, fuel and medicine.

Hamas proposed a comprehensive prisoner exchange deal, under which Hamas would free all of the hostages in exchange for releasing all Palestinian prisoners.

Israel said it would free the hostages by intensifying the military operation in the Gaza Strip.

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