Israel’s parliament gives preliminary approval for death penalty to terrorists

The country’s parliament, the Knesset, gave preliminary approval for legislation that would make it easier for courts across the Jewish state to impose a death sentence on assailants convicted of murder in attacks classified as terrorism. 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. 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. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said “I think that in extreme situations there is simple logic and that simple logic is that – whom slaughters and laughs will not spend the rest of his life in jail but rather, will be executed,” voted for the motion but said that such legislation required more profound discussion and that the matter would now be considered at the ministerial level before further debate in the Knesset.