A bill to revoke Israeli citizenship from terrorists who have received monetary compensation from the Palestinian Authority passed the first reading in the Knesset on Monday evening after being approved by the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee in the morning.
It passed with 89 votes, representing broad support from the coalition and opposition. The bill also received bipartisan support in the committee.
The fledgling law establishes a relationship between terrorists and the PA, which would allow their deportation to Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The decision to revoke citizenship would, according to the bill, be introduced by the interior minister. The Justice Minister would then have seven days to respond, and the court would have 30 days.
According to the committee’s legal adviser, Tomer Rosen, the approval of the attorney-general to revoke citizenship of a terrorist would not be required since “there is strong evidence that proves both the breach of trust and the relationship to the Palestinian Authority.”
According to the committee, it would be enough to establish that there was just one payment from the PA for the law to apply. Data showed that about 70% of terrorists receive compensation from the PA, the committee stated.
Members further noted that Israel was not the only country to pursue revocation of terrorists’ citizenship.
The example of Shamima Begum was raised multiple times. Begum, a former British national, had joined the Islamic State in Syria, and served as an enforcer and recruiter for the terrorist group. Then-British home secretary Sajid Javid revoked her British citizenship, which was upheld by the UK Supreme Court. Her Bangladeshi citizenship remains disputed.
The committee heard from the families of victims of terrorism in favor of the bill. One representative of the Forum of Life told of how he had a Molotov cocktail thrown at his car while his family was inside it.
“He ruined my life and he’s living like a king,” he said. The man who threw the firebomb has since married and fathered two children while in prison.
Committee meets after deadly weekend
The committee vote on the bill came just a few days after a series of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem in which seven were killed and five injured in the shooting attacks.
“Over the weekend, hearts were broken, mine and all of the nation of Israel,” said coalition head Ofir Katz. “When you bow your head to terrorism, you get more terrorism. We will respond with a strong hand. We have a public and moral duty to every bereaved family to pass this law. It is not possible that while our sisters and brothers are bleeding to death, candy will be handed out across the road. Terrorists can’t be here. Their place is in Gaza.”
On Saturday night, following the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, a proposal to deport the families of terrorists was raised at the cabinet meeting.
At the meeting, Likud MK Hanoch Milikowsky called to “deport the families.” He referred to the judicial reforms proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin at the beginning of January, saying that without the reforms, there would be legal barriers to proposed measures against terrorists.