Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering the establishment of a special court for security matters, he told Knesset members at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee earlier this week.
According to a report published Thursday in the Hebrew-language daily Haaretz, the prime minister mentioned the special “terror court” among a list of steps either implemented or being weighed by the government in its attempts to counter Palestinian terrorists in recent weeks.
Several of the MKs at the meeting, the report said, sought clarification from the prime minister on the nature of this new court, but the prime minister did not elaborate.
The court, two MKs quoted anonymously by the paper said, would handle issues such as detention of terror suspects without charges, revocations of citizenship or residency from terrorists, home demolitions, and security offenses such as terror attacks and the funding or abetting of terrorism.
Netanyahu has several options for the establishment of such a court. One would be the use of a military court as a terror court, as was the case in the Lod Military Court, which dealt until 2000 with offenses relating to state security, the report said.
A second, more dramatic option would be the establishment of an entirely new court. According to the report, the idea for the new court comes from the Shin Bet security service. On Thursday Justice Ministry officials said they have not been making any moves to advance such a court.
Netanyahu has expressed dissatisfaction in recent weeks over the court system’s delaying of punitive measures against terrorists and their families.
Two weeks earlier, the court stayed an order of demolition against the homes of Palestinian terrorists pending appeals, a move that drew a heated response from Shaked’s Jewish Home party colleague Moti Yogev who said Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman “had joined Israel’s enemies.”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) expressed more muted criticism of the court system in Wednesday’s Knesset session, saying that the justice system had “taken authority not given it by law.”
Referring to Yogev’s criticism of Justice Vogelman, Shaked acknowledged that “elected representatives must choose their words very carefully, but no authority in this country is immune to criticism.”
Jewish Home leader Education Minister Naftali Bennett, along with Prime Minister Netanyahu, has condemned Yogev’s comments, but Shaked has not, Haaretz reported.
In July, Yogev had said the top court should be “bulldozed” for a ruling ordering the state to demolish illegal Jewish homes in the settlement of Beit El. At that time, too, Netanyahu’s office released a statement on Israel’s respect for its courts and the need to uphold the rule of law.
On Thursday, senior officials at the Justice Ministry said Shaked had no plans to advance the establishment of a special terror court, Haaretz reported.
“The justice minister is not planning to promote the idea of establishing a special court for security matters. Minister Shaked thinks there is no need or benefit in establishing such a court and that the initiative would only cause harm,” the officials said.