Terrorists released from prison will be rearrested if they or their organization attack Israelis, according to a bill approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation Sunday.
The bill, proposed by Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud Beytenu) and signed by MKs in Labor, Bayit Yehudi, Hatnua, Shas, UTJ and Yesh Atid, is meant to combat plans by terrorists to kidnap Israeli soldiers or civilians.
In recent weeks, the government arrested dozens of terrorists who were released via a presidential pardon in exchange for captive soldier Gilad Schalit in 2011, following the kidnapping of three Israeli teens in Gush Etzion who were found murdered 18 days later.
However, if Elkin’s proposal becomes law, all terrorists who are freed as part of a diplomatic deal will not be pardoned, rather they will be let out of prison in an administrative release with the option of being rearrested if they return to terrorism or if the terrorist organizations with which they are associated attacks Israel.
The terrorist will then have to serve the rest of his or her original sentence and face a trial for his or her new crime.
“The government understood that the equation has to be changed and terrorist organizations have to realize that kidnapping will put them in jail, not free them,” Elkin said. “This [bill] is a good start toward a general change in how we deal with terrorist organizations.”
MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi), one of the bill’s cosponsors, called it an important step in the war on terrorism, as it will take away terrorists’ motive to kidnap Israelis as a negotiating tool.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal- On spoke out against the bill, saying that it “turns the courts into a toy for politicians who can cancel or renew their decisions when they want.
“This bill shows a total lack of effective governance,” she added. “The government is unable to make decisions and wants the laws to dictate every move it makes.”
Also Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation rejected a bill by Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu) to take away benefits for terrorists in prison, such as being allowed to send videos to family, furloughs, sending and receiving letters, and receiving books and newspapers.