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Adalah: 'Israel's proposed death penalty aimed at Palestinians only'

Nov. 14, 2018 4:40 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 15, 2018 11:02 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- As an Israeli parliamentary committee prepares to debate the first draft of the "Death Penalty for Terrorists," Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, fears the bill is intended for Palestinians only, demanding that it be struck down for violating international law and Israel's Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.

According to a press release by Adalah, the Israeli parliament's, Knesset, Constitution, Law and Justice Committee was slated to discuss the bill on Wednesday.

Adalah Attorney, Rabea Eghbariah, sent a letter to the committee chairman, Nissan Slomiansky, demanding that he suspends the bill.

Eghbariah argued in the letter that the death penalty is "an example of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and therefore contradicts the spirit of international law and the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty."

Eghbariah also stressed that most of the countries in the world, certainly the democracies of them, have "completely prohibited" the imposition of the death penalty.

"Moreover, the death penalty does not serve the declared purpose of the bill: multiple studies consistently attest to the failure of the death penalty in serving as deterrence."

Eghbariah continued that the legislation of death penalty in Israel could potentially lead, through its practical application, "to discrimination based on ethnicity and national belonging."

The law would be imposed by the Knesset on the Israeli military courts in the occupied West Bank, in contradiction of the provisions of international law, and would create different norms of application on Palestinian residents of the West Bank.

Eghbariah added, "At a time when countries around the world are ridding themselves of the death penalty, Israel is seeking to legitimize it. This is a draconian bill that contradicts core legal rights and is overtly aimed at Palestinians exclusively."

Earlier last week, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, approved passing a bill into law that allows execution of Palestinian prisoners.

The bill was introduced in 2017 by the Yisrael Beiteinu party, which is headed by the Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who said that the bill would be a powerful deterrent to Palestinians.

Many Palestinian politicians and human rights activists have already denounced the bill and expressed concern that it will give Israel "legal cover to target Palestinians," and argued that although it does not define a specific group, it is "intended mainly for the Palestinian people."

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