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Israeli Prime Minister Approves Death Penalty Bill for Terrorists - Reports

© REUTERS / Ronen ZvulunIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem September 5, 2018
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem September 5, 2018 - Sputnik International
The new policy will allow a majority of judges in civilian or military courts to rule against convicted terrorists with the death penalty. International reaction has so far remained fairly muted, with the exception of the European Union, which issued a statement condemning the new proposal as “inhuman and degrading.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved legislation that will make it easier for the courts to sentence terrorists convicted of murdering Israelis to death, according to the Times of Israel.

Under current Israeli law, any ruling on the death penalty can only be enforced by a unanimous decision in the Israeli Knesset. However, a bill previously propounded by Tel Aviv's Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, would see the requirement for parliamentary consensus scrapped, a move that would reportedly give both the military and civilian courts the authority to green-light the execution of terrorists convicted or murdering Israeli soldiers and civilians. 

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The bill scraped through an initial vote in January 2018 by the narrow margin of 52 to 49 in the 120 member legislature.

Much uncertainty hung in the air at the time as to whether the bill would materialize into actionable reality, but any doubts about that can now, it appears, be put to bed. Israel's public broadcaster, Kan, reported on Sunday, November 4 that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the nod of approval for the bill's advancement.

According to the Times of Israel, the bill has received endorsement among a number of senior officials, with Education Minister Naftali Bennet calling upon Netanyahu over the weekend to implement the bill. Soon after, Netanyahu did exactly that, reportedly telling the Israeli parliament that there is "no reason" no hold off with it.

The bill is now being prepared for a vote at the ‘Constitution, Law and Justice' parliamentary committee, due to take place over the next week, according to Israel's Arutz Sheva News. 

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While the death penalty exists in Israeli law, it has only ever been used once in 1962 against the former Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann, who helped to orchestrate Hitler's ‘final solution,' which culminated in the Jewish holocaust.     

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