Israeli leaders back death penalty for ′terrorists′ | News | DW | 18.12.2017
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages

Middle East

Israeli leaders back death penalty for 'terrorists'

The right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu has received backing for a controversial bill targeting convicted "terrorists." The proposal to change how the death penalty can be applied has divided lawmakers in Israel's parliament.

Political leaders of Israel's ruling coalition on Sunday evening backed a legislative proposal to allow capital punishment for convicted terrorists.

While Israel allows for the death penalty under domestic law and in the occupied West Bank under military law, it has not carried out capital punishment since 1961, when convicted Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was hanged.

Read more: German-Israeli relations: What you need to know

In Israel, the death penalty can only be applied in instances of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and treason, according to domestic law. The latest proposal, drafted by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party, would allow military courts to apply the death penalty in cases of convicted terrorists.

"The legislation should be very simple and very clear – a terrorist who comes to kill innocent civilians will be sentenced to death. No more convenient prison conditions, no more pictures of cheers for freed murderers, no more academic degrees," Lieberman said, according to Israeli news outlet Arutz Sheva.

While the draft bill does not single out Palestinian militants, it is in line with Lieberman's pledges to end the release of prisoners who have committed attacks against Israelis

While the draft bill does not single out Palestinian militants, it is in line with Lieberman's pledges to end the release of prisoners who have committed attacks against Israelis

Divisive proposal

The proposal marks a major victory for Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu, which made it a priority during talks to join the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2016. After receiving support from the political leaders of Israel's ruling coalition, the draft bill will be submitted to the Knesset, Israel's parliament.

However, some lawmakers have expressed opposition to the bill, with Nachman Shai of the center-left Zionist Union saying it represents a political mishap by Netanyahu as he faces dwindling support over corruption allegations, reported Arutz Sheva.

In an op-ed published in the Israeli daily Haaretz, former Israeli lawmaker and leftist writer Uri Avnery said that instituting capital punishment undermines the foundation of Israeli society.

Read more: Fewer executions worldwide, but more death sentences: Report

"No matter how you look at it, the death penalty is barbaric and stupid and has been abolished in all civilized countries except for certain states in the United States," Avnery said. According to Amnesty International, capital punishment has been abolished in just 104 out 198 countries worldwide.

In order to come into law, the bill must pass four readings in the Knesset. However, observers have noted that it could also be struck down by the Supreme Court of Israel after becoming law.

DW recommends

Advertisement