MK Bennie Begin (Likud) lashed out on Monday at the capital punishment for terrorists bill that Avigdor Liberman has presented as a condition for his Yisrael Beytenu party joining the ruling coalition as “unfit and even moronic.”
Begin made his statement at a hearing of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, which was debating a wide range of possible changes relating to law and national security.
More specifically, the committee was discussing nullifying as many as a third of the emergency regulations that have governed many issues since the establishment of the state.
Some of the regulations are outdated, such as those giving the IDF chief of staff command over the chief of police, or the defense minister the power to close the post office.
Many of those regulations are also due to be updated, adjusted or dropped as part of the new bill on terrorism that the Knesset has been debating for some time.
Liberman has already reportedly moderated his demand to widen application of capital punishment in Israel by merely authorizing capital punishment of Palestinians in the IDF’s West Bank courts by a 2-1 majority vote, as opposed to the current required 3-0 vote.
Deputy Attorney-General Raz Nizri warned the committee that media reports about what is being considered regarding capital punishment have been inaccurate.
Begin clarified to The Jerusalem Post after the committee hearing that his opposition is not because of international trends toward abolishing capital punishment, but that “everyone knows that the amendment is not practical and is hollow slogans.”
The committee also discussed whether to nullify the regulations permitting house demolitions.
MK Yael German (Yesh Atid) and MK Osama Sa’adi (Joint List) were upset that the Justice Ministry wanted to keep the regulation authorizing house demolitions in place.
They said that the policy of demolishing the homes of families of terrorists has failed to deter terrorists, has sometimes been used against their innocent relatives and is contrary to international law.
Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky, Begin and Nizri supported keeping the demolitions policy.
Begin said that sometimes the policy works and that the courts must continue to police specific cases where the policy is not appropriate.
The sides disagreed over where the High Court of Justice stands on the issue.
Another issue that could raise eyebrows globally would be nullifying the possibility of trying Jews living in the West Bank in the IDF’s West Bank courts.
As a policy, the IDF has never tried Jews in the West Bank courts – only Palestinians.
However, some cite the existing theoretical possibility as a sign of potential equality and feel that nullifying it might send the opposite signal.