Jerusalem (CNN) – On Sunday, the Israeli government approved a draft law to impose the death penalty on “terrorists,” said a joint statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.
Government approval is only the first step in the long journey before the bill becomes law.
Ben Gvir, leader of the nationalist Jewish Power party, linked Sunday’s approval to the shooting of Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
“On this difficult day when two Israeli citizens were killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack, there is nothing more symbolic than the issuance of the death penalty for terrorists,” Ben Gvir said.
Netanyahu and Ben Gvir’s statement said the law would give the courts the power to “impose the death penalty on those who committed the crime of murder on national grounds against the citizens of Israel.”
Officially, it is more of a Ben Gvir-sponsored bill than government-backed legislation.
After an initial vote in the Knesset, or parliament, the Israeli political and security cabinet will discuss the formulation of the next bill, after which it will move to the committee stage. If the bill passes the committee stage, it will take three Knesset readings to become law.
There were previous moves to implement the death penalty for terrorists in 2016 and 2018, according to the Israel Democracy Institute, but it has not become law.
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