Israeli politicians propose bill to treat arsonists as terrorists

The bill would allow destroying the property of arsonists who harmed the security of the state. It would also enable victims of the fire to receive aid received by terror victims.

November 26, 2016 21:37
1 minute read.

Fire in Halamish (Police)

Fire in Halamish (Police)


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As fires blazed across the country, Knesset members on the Right proposed legislation over the weekend that would punish arsonists.

“The wave of fires that has forced the evacuations of more than 75,000 citizens is an escalation, and we must treat it as such,” said Likud MK Sharren Haskel. “We must use every possible legal means to stop ecological terrorism.”

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Arsonists she said are not currently considered terrorists by the law, which prevents key punitive steps from being taken against them. She has proposed a bill that would treat them like other terrorists, and permit destroying the property of arsonists who harm the security of the state. It also would enable victims of the fire to receive aid received by terrorism victims.

Likud MK Oren Hazan said the time has come to expel terrorists and their families, including arsonists. His bill, which would allow such expulsions, has been awaiting advancement by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation for several months.

“It is sad, shocking and painful to watch the land of Israel going up in flames,” Hazan said in a video of himself in the Jerusalem hills he posted to his Facebook page on Friday.

“The time has come to end this screwup. We will end this hate-inspired environmental terrorism. Every terrorist must know we will get to every one of you.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said he was uplifted by the efforts to fight the fires.

“Dozens of fire-fighters and aerial fire-fighting teams sent from around the world helped us as forest fires spread across the country, saving the lives of thousands of Israelis who were imminently threatened as the flames spread,” he said.

“Among them, 44 Palestinian fire-fighters, who today completed their mission after three days of fighting fire on several fronts, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our fire-fighters, risking their lives to assist. They were highly praised for their actions, and we are grateful for their assistance and that of all the fire-fighters and pilots from around the world who helped us. From this tragedy, there is a glimmer of hope that things can be different.”

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