Knesset bill to exile terrorist families moves forward

On Sunday, Israel’s government advanced a bill that would expel families of terrorists from their homes as an added means of deterrence against future attacks.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

On Sunday, both the Security Cabinet and the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill to expel the families of terrorists from their homes to other areas within Judea and Samaria, Israel Hayom reports.

The bill was proposed by Jewish Home Party Head and Education Minister Naftali Bennett together with MK Moti Yogev, also of the Jewish Home party.

The bill gives the GOC Central Command the power to deport a terrorist family from their area of ​​residence to another area in Judea and Samaria within a week of an attack.

“The terrorists have ceased to be afraid,” Bennett said. “If legal authorities constrain the prime minister’s ability to restore deterrence, we will do it ourselves.”

“Deterrence is a cornerstone of Israel’s security as a way to save lives and maintain law and order,” Bennett noted, according to Israel Hayom. “The necessary step in this bill has been proven as a deterrence, reducing future attacks and thus saving lives.”

The bill had a rocky start and was rejected several times in the past months at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request. After a stormy Knesset meeting Sunday, Bennett told Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to convene the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and to pass the bill, Israel Hayom reports.

Following several terror attacks, including one in which a pregnant woman lost her baby, there have been increasing demands from the Israeli public for a tougher approach toward terrorists and their backers.

Bennett said the committee’s approval of the bill “an important step in the war against terror and the restoration of deterrence,” adding “Jewish blood is not cheap,” a slogan popular among Israelis demanding a stronger government response.

“The terrorists have ceased to be afraid of us. Jews are being murdered because participating in terror attacks has become a lucrative business, and [legal hoops] paralyze the defense establishment from acting,” Bennett said, according to Israel Hayom.

“I am glad that we decided to pass the law despite the vigorous opposition of the jurists who surround Netanyahu,” Bennett said.

However, not all senior officials are in favor of the bill. Nadav Argaman, the head of Shabak, or Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, came out in opposition to the proposed legislation on Monday.

Argaman said at a Cabinet meeting that it will bring the opposite of its intended result, that instead of creating deterrence it will increase tensions and will hurt investigations, according to the daily newspaper Haaretz.

Israel may also face international condemnation as a result of the legislation. The Jerusalem Post reports that Prof. Yuval Shany, chairman of the U.N. Human Rights Committee, told Army Radio on Monday that Israel will likely be brought up on criminal charges at the International Criminal Court in the Hague if it approves the bill to expel families of terrorists from their homes.

Prof. Shany also said that any such law would probably be overturned by Israel’s high court, but even so would still come before the international court, according to The Jerusalem Post report.

“International law cannot accept in any way the expulsion of families of terrorists, also not to Ramallah or Jenin,” Shany said to Army Radio, according to The Jerusalem Post. “You cannot punish a person for something someone else did. It will not pass the Supreme Court but will reach the Hague.”