Prisoners who are released in diplomatic negotiations and return to terrorism can be re-incarcerated, according to a law the Knesset passed Tuesday night.
The legislation proposed by Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) would also have the government make the final decision on prisoner releases and not have the president pardon terrorists.
Terrorists’ release will be conditional on the continued diplomatic or security interests in relation to the government’s decision and on the prisoner not returning to terrorist activities or crime.
If a released prisoner returns to terrorism, he or she will automatically continue to serve his previous sentence and can be tried for his or her new crime.
“This is a way to deal with the threat of kidnappings,” Elkin said.
“The bill is meant to create a deterrent for kidnappers, who will know that instead of releasing terrorists [by using captives as a negotiating tool] they are doing the opposite and putting terrorists in jail.”
According to Elkin, his proposal has support in the coalition and opposition – it was signed by MKs in Labor, Bayit Yehudi, Hatnua, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Yesh Atid – because it is logical for the government to be able to put terrorists back in prison if the circumstances under which they were released change.
“This is a moral act, because a terrorist cannot really be pardoned. If we would have [passed a law like this] years ago, we may have had fewer kidnapping attempts,” the Likud MK added.
Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, however, said that the bill is meant to sabotage future diplomatic negotiations and will prevent prisoner exchanges to free Israeli captives.
“We know that prisoners will be part of any future agreement [with the Palestinians],” Horowitz posited.
“Under these conditions no one will sign any agreement with Israel… If this law had existed, it would have been very difficult to free Gilad Schalit [from captivity in Gaza in 2011].”