A lawmaker from the Yisrael Beytenu party on Saturday vowed that in the coming months his party would ensure the Knesset passes legislation to allow the death penalty for convicted Palestinian terrorists.
A day after a Palestinian man killed two Israeli soldiers and seriously injured two others in a West Bank terror attack, MK Oded Forer told a cultural gathering in the southern city of Beersheba that the measure would serve as a deterrent for future attackers.
“There is no doubt that the terrorist should not have been alive by the time the incident was over,” Forer said, according to Channel 10.
“We intend to finalize the legislation on the issue during the summer session,” Forer added. “This is not a demand for revenge. But it’s inconceivable that an attacker can leave his house knowing that he will be allowed to watch the World Cup games this summer.”
Forer also accused Palestinian leadership of responsibility for inciting attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.
“Beyond dealing with this incitement, Israel must make it clear to terrorists who take the lives of Israelis… that it’s time for them to meet their makers,” he said.
On Friday, Defense Minister and Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman vowed he would pursue the death penalty for Ala Qabha, the Palestinian driver suspected of killing two soldiers and seriously injuring two others in a West Bank car-ramming attack earlier in the day.
“We will seek the death penalty for the terrorist, the destruction of his house and punishment for anyone who cooperated [with him],” Liberman said.
Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party has long supported passing legislation allowing the death penalty for convicted terrorists and made the issue a central plank of its 2015 election campaign.
A bill being pushed by the party that would apply to those convicted of fatal acts of terrorism passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset in January.
Although the death penalty formally exists in Israeli law, it has only ever been used once — in 1962 in the case of Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust. It is technically allowed in cases of high treason, as well as in certain circumstances under the military law that applies within the IDF and in the West Bank, but is not implemented.
On Saturday, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot confirmed that Israeli forces arrested Qabha’s brother and an uncle in the family’s hometown of Barta’a, outside the Palestinian city of Jenin.
Both relatives are suspected of helping the 26-year-old carry out the deadly attack.
Forces also mapped out Qabha’s home in preparation for its demolition, conducted a broader search of the village for illegal weapons and continued security checks of cars in the roads surrounding Barta’a.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai announced that he had revoked the work permits of some 30 relatives of Qabha following the attack.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva said Saturday morning that the two soldiers injured in the attack remained in serious condition.
Both underwent multiple surgeries overnight for injuries sustained when Qabha plowed his car into the troops, who were standing at a military guard post outside the Mevo Dotan settlement.
The IDF has yet to release the names of the two soldiers killed in the attack. One of the victims was pronounced dead at the scene. A second died a short time later, after attempts to save his life failed. The army designated the car-ramming as a terror attack.
Qabha was stopped by IDF troops some 30 meters from the scene. The 26-year-old was then interrogated and transferred to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera for treatment of his minor injuries. He remains in Israeli custody.
Hebrew media reported Friday that Qabha had been released from Israeli prison last April after completing a 17-month sentence for security related crimes.
Judah Ari Gross and Jacob Magid contributed to this report.