The Knesset National Security Committee chaired by MK Tzvika Foghel (Otzma Yehudit) on Monday debated the death penalty for terrorists, in a bill titled, “Hamas Terrorists and Terrorist Collaborators (Punishment) Law.”
The bill was submitted by Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Sonn Har Melech whose husband was murdered in 2003 by five Arab gunmen outside Ramallah. Its title closely emulates the 1950, “Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law,” thus establishing the equating of Arab terrorists and the Nazis.
An early version of this law was passed by the plenum in a preliminary vote in March but has been stuck ever since. The committee will debate and submit a refreshed version of the law for a preliminary Knesset vote, with the October 7 massacre as a new impetus.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir (also Otzma Yehudit) was invited to speak before the committee. The Minister hugged the representatives of the families of the hostages when he entered the committee’s room
The current law’s language is: “Whoever intentionally or through indifference causes the death of an Israeli citizen, when the act is motivated by racism or hostility toward a sector and to harm the State of Israel and the revival of the Jewish people – shall be sentenced to death.”
The law at this juncture does not specify the method of execution, although traditionally, going back to the British mandate and the execution of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichman, executions have been carried out by hanging.
The bill facilitates the prosecution of all the individuals who participated in the October 7 massacre, allowing the court to deviate from the rules of evidence in criminal prosecution to bring the terrorists to justice, and to impose the death penalty. The short of it is that if a resident of Gaza was captured inside Israeli territory on October 7, he is presumed to be a terrorist or a terrorist collaborator and may be punished by hanging.
Likud MK Amit Halevi, who serves on the National Security Committee, explained the comparison between Hamas terrorists and the Nazis, saying the massacre, like the Holocaust atrocities, was the consequence of an organized genocidal ideology preached by a political government. Also: like the Nazis, the Hamas murderers delighted in recording their sadistic acts borne by boundless evil.
Yordan Gonen, whose sister Romi Gonen was kidnapped to Gaza, criticized the committee, saying the bill contradicted the efforts to release the hostages alive and well. Gonen asked the committee members: “Why are you giving them tools to hang our loved ones in Gaza and make a show of it? We are dealing with the death penalty when there are people alive in there?”
She warned that Israel is not facing human beings but monsters, who would not hesitate to hang their hostages should Israel do the same to Hamas convicts.