Palestinian terrorists. (AP/Adel Hana) (AP/Adel Hana)
Palestinian terrorists

An effort in Israel’s legislature to pass a law sentencing convicted terrorists to death has been temporarily blocked as Prime Minister Netanyahu pushed off the vote for three months in order to study the issue in depth.

Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation was set to discuss on Sunday a bill that would enable the sentencing to death of convicted terrorists.

The proposed law was submitted by MK Sharon Gal, and would enable military and district courts to sentence murderous terrorists to death.

“Death sentences will strengthen Israel’s deterrence — it’s moral and ethical to legislate it in order to save the lives of our citizens. It has broad support among the people — it’s clear to everyone that it’s a law that must pass,” Gal said of the bill.

Sharon Gal

MK Sharon Gal. (Isaac Harari/Flash90)

The bill proposes that convicted terrorists can be sentenced to death with a majority of judges, rather than the unanimous decision required under current law. Furthermore, district courts will be able to deal out such sentencing and not only military courts, and an IDF general will not be able to commute the sentence, as is possible by the current law.

“There is no doubt it is time for Israel to toughen its punishments for despised terrorists who are not even willing to come to terms with the existence of the state of Israel,” MK Zeev Elkin, one of the committee members, said Sunday.

According to the media, a majority of the committee supports the bill, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to block the bill for political reasons and out of fear of possible criticism from European countries.

Instead, Netanyahu announced that a government team headed by Minister Yariv Levin will be established to examine the issue in depth.

Last week, Minister of Education Naftali Bennett voiced support for the bill.

“A murderous terrorist, such as the murderers of the Fogel family, needs to know that he will end his life like he cuts down [the lives of others],” Bennett wrote on Facebook. “It’s moral and it’s right.”

Israeli law allows capital punishment for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, treason and crimes against the Jewish people, but has been dealt out only once to the Nazi Adolf Eichmann in 1962.

The bill may receive the committee’s approval, but is expected to encounter fierce opposition when it hits the Knesset plenum for debate.

By: United with Israel Staff

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