Muhanna's family house destroyed. Muhannad al-Halabi, a 19-year-old law student, was shot dead by the IOF on October 3 after he stabbed Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Banita.

Knesset bill to deport family members of Palestinian assailants gains massive support

PNN/Jerusalem

A bill was formally submitted to the Israeli Knesset on Wednesday by Israeli Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) to deport the family members of Palestinian assailants who were killed by the IOF since October last year to the Gaza Strip.

Since the beginning of the month, the bill has garnered support from the Israeli parliament across the political spectrum, Israeli media reports.

At the beginning of March Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Israeli Attorney General (AG) Avichai Mandelblit to conduct a legal review of the bill that would allow Israel to expel family members of Palestinians who carried out anti-Israel operatives to the Gaza Strip.

“Many of the recent terror attacks have been committed by lone terrorists. Often these terrorists have come from families that encourage and assist them. [I] believe that using this tool can lead to a significant decrease in terror attacks against the State of Israel, its citizens and its residents,”” Netanyahu wrote in a letter to Mandelblit.

After reviewing the bill, Mandelblit said last week that expelling “Palestinian terrorists’ families from the West Bank to Gaza violates Israeli and international law and could play into the hands of those seeking to have Israel tried for war crimes in the International Criminal Court.”

Even with Mandelblit opposition to the bill, according to the Israeli media, Netanyahu claimed that the legal restrictions preventing its implementation are a “misinterpretation of international legal statute.”

Katz, who submitted the bill, said it is “a first rate act of deterrence,” and called on the AG’s Office to cooperate and allow it to pass into law quickly.

“Everyone must understand that we are at the height of a war against ISIS style terrorist attacks by radical Islam,” Katz stated. “This is terrorism by individuals, about which we do not have additional intelligence, and therefore, we need to take additional deterrent and preventative steps.”

The bill is well-supported within the Israeli parliament coalition, with the backing of Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Habayit Hayehudi and Kulanu MKs, as well as opposition MKs from Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beteinu.

According to Jpost, the only obstacle preventing the bill from being implemented is AG Mandelblit’s objection.

The bill states that family members of Palestinians who helped commit the “act of terrorism” or who knew about it in advance, could lose their permanent residence status if they are residents of “sovereign Israel”, including occupied east Jerusalem, or be deported from the occupied West Bank.

To punish the family members of Palestinian assailants, Israel currently uses home demolitions, saying the measure is meant to “deter attacks”. Critics from nongovernmental organizations and human right groups say the demolitions are a form of collective punishment.