Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu endorses death penalty bill designed specifically for Palestinians
This past Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed a new bill which would allow for the execution of Palestinian prisoners, drawing harsh criticism for further promoting the selective application of punishment in the apartheid state.
Although the death penalty is currently legal in Israel, it has not been used since the 1962 execution of Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi SS war criminal. The law states Israeli military courts can only carry out the death penalty if a panel of judges agree in a unanimous vote. The proposed bill removes this condition by requiring the consent of a majority vote, not a unanimous one. The bill would affect both civilian and military courts.
Many political activists say the bill would specifically target Palestinian political prisoners as another way to thwart Palestinian liberation movements.
According to Maan News, the bill was first introduced in 2017 by the far right Yisrael Beiteinu party, spearheaded by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman stated, “We must not allow terrorists to know that after a murder they have committed, they will sit in prison, enjoy the conditions and may be released in the future.”
“There are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” Lieberman said to an Israeli public radio.
The bill passed its preliminary vote in January. It will be debated and voted on next week in Israel’s parliament.
According to Middle East Eye, Qadura Fares, the director of the Palestinian Society Prisoner’s Club, said in a statement, “This bill is drafted to be imposed on Palestinian prisoners only, in the Israeli military and civil courts, and it will not be extended to Israeli prisoners.”
With or without the bill passing, Israel has continuously killed many Palestinians. Earlier this year, Israel killed over 60 Palestinians and injured 2,000 more during the U.S. embassy’s open in Jerusalem.