Knesset passes law limiting prisoner releases

Bennett: New law puts Israel back on "moral path," tells potential terrorists they won't be freed.

November 3, 2014 21:51
1 minute read.
palestinian prisoner release

Israelis demonstrate against a Palestinian prisoner release. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

A law that would prevent some murderers from being released in diplomatic negotiations passed in the Knesset on Monday.

The legislation proposed by MKs Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) and David Tzur (Hatnua) adds another level of punishment beyond life in prison, which judges can choose in rulings on especially harsh murder cases, like terrorist attacks or murder of children.

In such a case, the murderer will never be able to be released as part of diplomatic negotiations and cannot be let out on parole until having served at least a 40-year sentence.

The law does not apply to current prisoners; rather, it can be used in future court rulings.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said the law “brings back sanity and morality to Israeli policy about releasing terrorists, after years of losing the moral path.

“Terrorists should die in prison and that is how it will be,” he said.

According to Bennett, the law “sends a message to [Palestinian] society that praises murderers and names public squares after them that the policy of releasing murderers that was acceptable until now is over, and whoever will harm citizens of Israel will spend the rest of his or her life behind bars.”

Tzur said that the law sends a clear message and does justice for families of the victims, saying that when a whole family is murdered, it should not be connected to diplomatic negotiations.

“This law is forward-looking. It does not tie the government’s hands [in negotiating terrorist releases] when it comes to security prisoners who are currently in jail,” he added.

“This is the time to prove to citizens that their personal security and lives are no less important than any other value,” Shaked said after the bill passed. “From today, judges will be able to rule that whoever committed a cruel murder, whether it is criminally or nationalistically motivated, will spend the rest of his or her life behind bars.”

Now, Shaked added, it is judges’ responsibility to “do the just thing and increase citizens’ sense of security.”

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