Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said he supports the death penalty for the terrorist who killed three members of the Salomon family on Friday night.
“The death penalty for terrorists –- it’s time to implement it in severe cases,” Netanyahu said in a conversation with family members of the victims, a video of which was posted on the prime minister’s Twitter account.
“It’s anchored in the law. You need the judges to rule unanimously on it, but if you want to know the government’s position and my position as prime minister –- in a case like this, of a base murderer like this -– he should be executed. He should simply not smile anymore.”
On Friday evening, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, from a nearby West Bank village, burst in to the Salomon family’s house in the West Bank settlement of Halamish 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. The family was celebrating the birth of a grandson.
During the attack, Abed was shot and injured by an off-duty Israeli soldier who lives nearby. He was discharged from an Israeli hospital into custody on Saturday.
On Sunday Netanyahu called Abed “a human beast infused with the hatred of Jews.”
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 Abed after Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz had initiated the demand on Saturday night.
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 Knesset has several times rejected legislation that would apply the death penalty to Palestinian terrorists.
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.
AFP contributed to this report.