The Prime Minister is supporting the bill, but it must pass the Knesset committee first.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, gave his consent to lawmakers to push forward a much-debated bill which will legally allow the death penalty for Palestinians convicted of killing Israeli soldiers and civilians. As per official media sources, a Knesset committee will start preliminary discussions on crafting the law for a first reading. Prime Minister Netanyahu has taken this step against the advice of the Israeli security establishment.

This bill was first brought forward by the Yisrael Beytenu party. If it passes the Knesset, the law will permit a simple majority among all the presiding judges to punish any or all terrorists with the penalty of death. Naftali Bennett, the chairman of Bayit Yehudi party, brought the bill to the party chiefs' meeting. He asked it to be moved forward and told the Prime Minister that there exists no compelling reason to keep the bill in stasis. This is important as Avigdor Liberman, the chairman of Yisrael Beytenu, has earlier accused Bayit Yehudi of willfully not passing the bill solely due to political reasons. The two have publicly insulted one another multiple times in recent months due to disagreements concerning Israel's foreign policy. Bennett, who heads the Jewish Home religious nationalist party, is scheduled to fight the right wing but secular Yisrael Beytenu in the coming Knesset elections.

The Likud has rejected appeals by Yisrael Beytenu to resurrect efforts with the aim to make the law advance citing it as a component of coalition agreements. Prime Minister Netanyahu has now given the bill his consent, saying there could not exist any reason to hold back the bill any longer.

The coming days will witness Netanyahu interacting with the coalition party heads so that the week's legislative agenda can be set. He informed all heads of both the Israeli Defense Forces and Shin Bet security have opposed the bill. He also told lawmakers that these objections should not sway them from passing the bill. The bill is controversial as although Israel has the death penalty, it was actually applied only once to prosecute Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi officer, and a major Holocaust contributor. In theory, the death penalty under present Israeli laws can be handed out for high treason and in few cases under a particular martial law which can be applied within the West Bank and the IDF. Any action for taking a life needs a unanimous decision of a three-judge panel. Death penalties are in reality actually never implemented.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter