The European Union is "opposed to the death penalty under all circumstances", a spokesperson for the EU said on Thursday , following Israel's preliminary vote to pass a death penalty law.
Israel's parliament gave approval on Wednesday for legislation that would make it easier for a court to pass a death sentence on assailants convicted of murder in attacks classified as terrorism.
"As you know, the European Union is opposed to the death penalty under all circumstances and cases with no exception, and we are working at its universal abolition," European Commission Spokesperson, Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela told reporters.
The amendment to the penal code would still require three more readings if it is to become law. Currently, a death penalty can only be imposed if a panel of three military judges passes sentence unanimously. If the amendment is adopted, a majority verdict would suffice.
Israeli military courts - which handle cases involving Palestinians in the West Bank - already have the power to issue the death sentence, although this has never been implemented.
The only case of an execution in Israel was carried out against convicted Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1962.