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Israeli politicians push ahead with death penalty law for terrorists

Israeli lawmakers are advancing a bill that would make it easier to implement the death penalty against convicted terrorists.

The National Security Committee in the Knesset discussed on Monday a bill proposed by the extreme right-wing Jewish Power party, which is part of Israel’s ruling coalition.

The aim is to be able to impose the death penalty for murder committed for racist motives.

In the occupied West Bank, military courts are to be authorised to pronounce death sentences by a simple majority.

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In March, a majority of the members of parliament voted in favour of the contentious bill.

The terrorist attacks by Hamas militants on Oct. 7, in which 1,200 people were killed and around 240 hostages were taken to the Gaza Strip, has given the legislation momentum.

Three more readings by parliament are required before the law comes into force.

Similar attempts to introduce the death penalty for terrorists have failed in the past.

Israel abolished the death penalty for murder in 1954.

Israeli law still allows the death penalty to be imposed in certain cases, for example against Nazi criminals or for treason in wartime.

However, the execution of the high-ranking Nazi Adolf Eichmann in 1962 was the last time that a death sentence imposed by a regular court in Israel was carried out.

Israel’s far-right security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, wrote on social media on Monday: “We all saw what happened here on Oct. 7, when the Nazis came in.

“They did not distinguish between left and right, between an elderly person and a child, between Jews and Arabs.’’

“They slaughtered everything in their path,’’ he said.

“There is only one judgment for these damn Nazis. And that is death.’’

The current discussion about the death penalty law has triggered massive criticism from the relatives of the hostages.

According to Israeli media reports, they fear that the abductees will be put in additional danger.

Hundreds of terrorists were captured in the wake of the Oct. 7, attacks, Israel said. (dpa/NAN) (

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