In light of the recent Hamas massacre, Israel is facing a possible toughening of its anti-terrorism laws. A new draft law is met with strong criticism and concerns.
Around six weeks after the Hamas massacre in southern Israel, Israeli politicians want to make it easier to impose the death penalty for terrorists. Parliament’s internal security committee discussed a corresponding law from the right-wing extremist ruling party Otzma Jehudit (Jewish Force).
According to a draft of the law from March, “whoever intentionally or out of indifference causes the death of an Israeli citizen, if the act is motivated by racism or out of hostility against a certain population group” will be punished with death – with the aim of “the “To harm the State of Israel or the rebirth of the Jewish people in their homeland”. In the occupied West Bank, military courts should be able to hand out death sentences with a simple majority.
Capital punishment abolished in Israel in 1954
In March, a majority of the MPs present had already voted for the draft law. Three more readings of Parliament are needed before the law comes into force. Similar attempts to impose the death penalty for terrorists have failed in the past.
Israel abolished the death penalty for murder in 1954. Israeli law continued to allow the death penalty to be imposed in certain cases, such as against Nazi criminals or in cases of treason in times of war. However, the execution of the German Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1962 was the last time that a death penalty pronounced by a regular court in Israel was carried out.
The right-wing extremist police minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, wrote on the platform X, formerly Twitter: “We all saw what happened here on October 7th, when the Nazis came in, they didn’t differentiate between left and right, between an older one person and a child, between Jews and Arabs.” They would have slaughtered everyone. “There is only one sentence for these damn Nazis. And that is death.”
Criticism from hostage relatives
In the massacre by terrorists from the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip on October 7, around 1,200 people were killed in southern Israel. Around 240 hostages were also kidnapped into the Gaza Strip. Israel says it captured hundreds of terrorists.
The current discussion about the death penalty law has sparked massive criticism from the relatives of the hostages. They fear that those abducted will be at additional risk, as Israeli media reported.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.