Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday urged Israeli military courts to seek the death penalty for the Palestinian terrorist who killed three Israelis on Friday in the West Bank settlement of Halamish. Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz had initiated the demand on Saturday night.
On Friday evening, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, from a nearby village, burst in to the Salomon family’s house at the West Bank Halamish settlement armed with a large knife and stabbed to death Yosef Salomon, 70, his daughter Chaya Salomon, 46, and son Elad Salomon, 36. Yosef’s wife Tova, 68, was seriously hurt.
During the attack, Abed was shot and wounded by an off-duty Israeli soldier who lives nearby. Abed was discharged from an Israeli hospital into custody on Saturday.
“In such an extreme case, there is indeed room to impose the death penalty and that is within the jurisdiction of the Judea and Samaria military courts,” Liberman told the Ynet news website on Sunday.
Shaked wrote on her Twitter feed that “the murderers of children and families deserve the death penalty. Such a punishment exists in the military court with a unanimous decision by the judges. This is an incident that demands the death penalty for the murderer.”
Bennett, the leader of the nationalist Jewish Home of which Shaked is also a member, tweeted that the “death penalty is possible at the military court. There is no need for legislation; only to ask [for it]. I call on the military prosecutor to demand the death penalty for the terrorist who murdered the Salomon family.”
In Israel, the death penalty is applicable only in limited circumstances, and has only been carried out once, in 1962, against the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Final Solution.
The ministers’ calls came after Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said Saturday he would push for the death penalty for Abed.
Katz said Israel’s military court system already had statutes in place for the death penalty in cases like this.
“We need to use the option that we have in military rule and I call on the military prosecutor to demand the death penalty,” Katz told Channel 2 TV.
The Knesset has several times rejected legislation that would apply the death penalty to Palestinian terrorists.
Abed, was released from the hospital and handed over to the security services for questioning on Saturday afternoon.
The army said it appeared Abed had posted a Facebook post detailing his intention as he walked toward the community. Before crossing the fence, he apparently performed some type of purification ritual, anticipating he would be killed. Empty water bottles and a Quran were found at the site.
In his initial questioning, Abed said he bought the knife two days ago and sought to commit a terror attack because of events surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Upgraded Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount were introduced after three Arab Israelis shot dead two Israeli police officers on duty there on July 14, using guns they had smuggled into the Al-Aqsa mosque. Muslim worshipers and the Palestinian leadership have protested the changes and daily demonstrations have escalated in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Five Palestinians were killed in East Jerusalem and the West Bank on Friday and Saturday during violent clashes with Israeli security forces.