Nov 19, 2023 13:59 UTC
  • Knesset set to discuss death penalty law for Palestinian prisoners: Ben Gvir

The Knesset (Israel Parliament) is set to discuss a controversial draft law on “executing Palestinian prisoners” for initial approval this week, the so-called Israeli security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has said.

Ben Gvir in a post on X (formerly Twitter) said that he will bring the death penalty law for Palestinian prisoners, already prepared by his Otzma Yehudit party, to the Knesset National Security Committee on Monday.

“The Knesset will discuss on Monday preparations for the first reading of the death penalty law for Palestinian prisoners,” he wrote.

He added that the draft “is expected to receive support by all members of the Knesset.”

Last March, in a preliminary reading, the Knesset approved a draft law that stipulates that courts can impose the death penalty on those who kill an Israeli with nationalistic motivation. However, it would not apply to an Israeli who killed a Palestinian.

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

Hamas, the Palestinian resistance movement, vowed that such policies would not deter the Palestinian people from exercising their right to resistance against the occupying regime and its illegal settlers.

The death penalty law has been proposed in Israel more than once in recent years, but the Knesset has so far refused to legislate it. The draft law must be improved three times in the Knesset to become effective.

In February, UN experts in a statement expressed grave concern over the potential reinstatement of the death penalty.

Such laws “suffer from a lack of legal precision, infringe on critically important rights, and appear not to meet the required thresholds of legality, necessity, proportionality, and non-discrimination under international law,” the statement said.

‘’The Israeli regime detains more than 7,800 Palestinians in its prisons, including some 300 children and 72 women, according to Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Authority Commission for Prisoners’ Affairs.

He said the number did not include prisoners from Gaza, which he said Israel refuses to disclose.

On Tuesday, Ben-Gvir posted a video from his visit to one of the prisons where he said Palestinian militants are held in the strictest conditions, with the Israeli national anthem playing over on loudspeakers all day.

He said he hoped a bill supporting the death penalty for Palestinians would be passed soon beyond the preliminary vote in Knesset.

Earlier in January, Ben Gvir had pushed the Knesset to pass a bill to use the electric chair death penalty for Palestinians involved in retaliatory operations and attacks against Israeli military forces and settlers.

The far-right Israeli minister also had called for the imposition of a curfew on Palestinian neighborhoods that pose a threat to Israel and the apprehension of those holding weapons.