Israel’s Knesset to debate death penalty bill next week

The bill would allow imposition of death penalty for Palestinians involved in attacks against Israelis

Israel’s Knesset to debate death penalty bill next week

By Abdel Raouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM

The Knesset (Israel’s parliament) will debate a bill that would allow the imposition of death penalty for Palestinians involved in attacks against Israelis next week, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday.

A draft law of death penalty will be put before the Knesset’s constitution, law and justice committee on Wednesday, he said on Twitter.

Lieberman said the bill would later be presented for approval in the first reading by lawmakers.

“We will not give up and we will not stop until we finish the job,” he said.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the go-ahead for the controversial bill to be advanced by the Knesset.

The legislation has been heavily endorsed by Lieberman and was part of an earlier coalition agreement with Netanyahu’s Likud party. The agreement brought Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party into Israel’s coalition government.

Because of Israel’s dual legal system, which generally tries Israelis in civilian courts and Palestinians in military courts (where the death penalty would be introduced), Israelis would generally not face execution for killing Palestinians.

Currently, a death penalty can only be imposed if a panel of three military judges passes the penalty unanimously. If the bill is approved, a majority verdict would suffice.

According to official Palestinian figures, roughly 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in prisons and detention facilities throughout Israel.

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