Liberman: We will not give up on death penalty for terrorists

“We will not give up until we complete the task,” Liberman said in his statement of support for the death penalty bill. 

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman vowed to persist with his push to pass a bill that would make it easier for military courts to sentence terrorists to death.

“After more than three years of stubborn struggle, next Wednesday the death penalty law for terrorists will finally be brought before the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for approval, and we will not give up until we complete the task,” he tweeted Tuesday.

The bill would amend the current Penal Law that allows the death penalty to be handed down only via a unanimous decision by all the judges on the panel in a military court. Should the bill become law, a terrorist could be sentenced to death if two of the three judges agree to it. The bill would apply to those convicted of fatal acts of terrorism, based on the Israeli legal definition.

The bill was approved in a 52-49 vote in its preliminary reading by the Knesset in January.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced during a coalition meeting on Monday that he has permitted the legislation to proceed.

The bill, proposed by MKs Robert Ilatov, Oded Forer and Yulia Malinovsky of Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, will now be voted on at the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, which will prepare it for its first reading at the Knesset plenum.

During the January plenum debate, Ilatov said lawmakers have a “moral obligation to the citizens of Israel who have been suffering from terror since the state’s inception, and even beforehand.”

“When terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons end up going free (in prisoner exchanges), I think the most moral thing is for (terrorists) to get the death penalty,” he said.

Ilatov noted that capital punishment is a legal penalty in 31 states in the United States.

The bill’s explanatory note states that “the fight against terrorism is the world’s greatest challenge in the 21st century, and all the more so, Israel’s greatest challenge.”