Bennett reportedly looking into legal pathway to forcibly repatriate terrorists’ families from Judea and Samaria to the Gaza Strip.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is looking into the legalities of expelling the families of terrorists from Judea and Samaria and repatriating them to the Gaza Strip, according to a report from Army Radio on Sunday evening.
Bennett reportedly brought up the possibility in a cabinet meeting after the idea was proposed by Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar. Another unnamed prominent minister was also said to be present during the meeting.
If such a move occurred, it would mark an unprecedented departure from previous Israeli policy. In the past, government officials have dismissed the possibility of exiling terrorists’ families or stripping those with Israeli citizenship of their nationality.
While security forces do demolish the homes of some Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem residents who commit terror attacks, the army generally avoids destroying the homes of Israeli citizens, save for very rare occasions.
But as an uptick in terror threatens Israel’s security as well with the stability of the current coalition, a number of government officials are pushing for harsher sanctions against terrorists, including house demolitions of those who hold Israeli citizenship.
“We need to move forward with demolishing terrorists’ homes in Israel as well, and weigh removal from Judea and Samaria to Gaza,” Army Radio quoted Sa’ar as saying. “This is crucial in light of the current situation.”
Bennett reportedly ordered the National Security Council to investigate the matter further.
The legal pathway to forcibly repatriating terrorists’ families is unclear, and Army Radio reported that some senior defense figures are opposed to the measure.
The left-wing and Islamist Ra’am parties, who are critical coalition partners for Bennett, would likely be opposed to the move.
According to a commentator from Kikar HaShabbat, the proposal is a way for Bennett to frame himself as a right-wing candidate ahead of potential new elections.
In response to the Army Radio report, a spokesperson from Bennett’s office said he will neither confirm nor deny to the media matters discussed in cabinet meetings.