Liberman’s party revives death penalty for terrorists bill after Har Adar attack
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Liberman’s party revives death penalty for terrorists bill after Har Adar attack

MK Robert Ilatov says legislation needed to send a ‘clear and unequivocal’ message on punishment for terrorism

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman (R) and MK Robert Ilatov (L) attend a party faction meeting at the Knesset on April 30, 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman (R) and MK Robert Ilatov (L) attend a party faction meeting at the Knesset on April 30, 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party said Tuesday it will revive legislation applying the death penalty to convicted terrorists after a deadly terror attack in the settlement of Har Adar earlier in the day.

MK Robert Ilatov, who will submit the bill, said the legislation is necessary to deter future terrorists from carrying out attacks.

“The legislation needs to be clear and unequivocal. A terrorist who comes with the goal of murdering innocent citizens — his sentence is death,” said Ilatov in a statement Tuesday.

Liberman and his Yisrael Beytenu party have long advocated introducing the death penalty for terrorists and the issue was one of the party’s key campaign promises in the 2015 elections.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (R) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visit the IDF’s West Bank Division, near the Israeli settlement of Beit El, on January 10, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

While the proposed legislation has previously failed to garner sufficient support, Liberman expects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to support the bill, Channel 2 reported Tuesday.

Following a terror attack in July in the West Bank settlement of Halamish, in which a Palestinian stabbed to death three family members of the Salomon family as they celebrated the birth of a grandson in their home, Netanyahu said he supported the death penalty for the terrorist, saying it was a fitting punishment for a “base murderer.”

Despite the comment by Netanyahu and a number of other top right-wing political figures at the time, an IDF prosecutor said the punishment is not Israeli policy, despite it being permissible under law.

In Israel, the death penalty is applicable only in limited circumstances, and has only been carried out once in a civilian court, against Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Final Solution, in 1962.

According to a poll in August, over 70 percent of Jewish Israelis said they support the death penalty for terrorists.

The Knesset has several times rejected legislation that would apply the death penalty to Palestinian terrorists, including in Netanyahu governments.

Yisrael Beytenu’s latest call for legislation mandating the death penalty for convicted terrorists came after Tuesday’s terror attack in Har Adar, in which a Border Police officer and two security guards were shot dead by a Palestinian from a nearby village.

Emergency services respond to a terror attack outside the Har Adar settlement near Jerusalem, in which three were killed and one wounded, on September 26, 2017. (Menahem Kahana/AFP PHOTO)

The terrorist, identified as Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal, a laborer from the nearby Bayt Surik village, was shot and killed by security forces at the scene, police said.

The victims — border policeman Solomon Gavriyah, 20, and civilian security guards Youssef Ottman, 25, from Abu Ghosh and Or Arish, 25, a resident of Har Adar — were all buried later Tuesday.

TOI staff contributed to this report.

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