Candlelight vigil, protest of prisoner release 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Terrorists released in negotiations and prisoner exchanges in the past or slated to be released in the future will not be considered pardoned, if a bill submitted by Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud Beytenu) on Thursday passes.
The legislation has support on the Right and the Left, including from Labor faction chairman Eitan Cabel, coalition chairman Yariv Levin and several other lawmakers from Likud Beytenu, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Bayit Yehudi, Hatnua and Yesh Atid.
The proposal comes just days after 51 terrorists
, earlier freed as part of the exchange of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for captive soldier Gilad Schalit, were re-arrested.
The measure is meant to ensure that, if a freed prisoner returns to committing terrorism, he will continue his previous prison sentence and be convicted for the new crime he committed.
Prisoners will no longer be pardoned by the president in cases of trades or releases during diplomatic negotiations; rather, they will officially be on parole.
In addition, if the organization of which a terrorist is a member kidnaps someone, the government may cancel any previous prisoner exchanges and put all members of the organization who were released back in jail.
The bill’s explanatory portion states that “in most cases, terrorists who were freed were involved in serious and despicable terrorist attacks and their release is an outrage and a stab in the heart.”
“Terrorists need to know that criminal kidnapping of the sort [we saw recently] puts terrorists in jail and doesn’t free them,” Elkin explained. “Every terrorist organization has to understand that it does not pay to kidnap.”
According to Elkin, if the bill passes, terrorists will have to take into consideration the fact that anyone who was released can be put back in prison before they plan another kidnapping.