David Bitan à en action.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will vote Sunday on two bills that will grant the defense and interior ministers power to deport the families of terrorists to territories under Palestinian Authority control or abroad, and to revoke their permanent residence status.
The bills, initiated by coalition chairman MK David Bitan (Likud), “give the government the tools to handle the waves of terrorism and violence and increase the deterrence for the residents of the region from taking part or assisting in terrorist acts against the State of Israel or its inhabitants.”
The bills also state that family members who help commit the act of terrorism or who know about it in advance could lose their permanent residence status if they are residents of sovereign Israel, including east Jerusalem, or be deported from the West Bank.
The bills were signed by MKs from all coalition parties and some from the opposition, including Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) directors Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid) and Avi Dichter (Likud).
The idea for the legislation, which was separated into two separate bills, came from Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz after Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said in March that expelling the families of Palestinian terrorists from the West Bank to Gaza violates Israeli and international law and could play into the hands of those seeking to have Israel tried for war crimes in the International Criminal Court.
Katz said at the time the bill would be “a first rate act of deterrence,” and called on the Attorney-General’s Office to cooperate and allow it to pass into law quickly.
“Everyone must understand that we are at the height of a war against ISIS-style terrorist attacks by radical Islam,” Katz stated in March. “This is terrorism by individuals, about whom we do not have additional intelligence, and, therefore, we need to take additional deterrent and preventative steps.”
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.