Knesset Passes Legislation Limiting Palestinian Prisoners’ Releases

TEL AVIV, November 4, 2014 (WAFA) – The Israeli parliament, Knesset, passed on Monday a bill limiting release of Palestinian prisoners accused of murdering Israelis under ‘serious circumstances.’

The legislation, proposed by MKs Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) and David Tzur (Hatnua), was passed in the second and third readings and will add another level of punishment beyond life imprisonment, where judges can choose in rulings especially in harsh murder cases, according to Israeli media sources.

The new law will prohibit releasing Palestinian prisoners or reducing a prisoner’s sentence in case of a political deal or a prisoner swap.

In such a case, the prisoner will never be allowed out of prison as part of diplomatic negotiations and cannot be let out on parole until having served at least 40 years in prison. The law will also deprive the prisoner of their right to ask for determining his life sentence unless after 15 years have passed since they were arrested.

MK Dov Khenin, of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, said in a speech before the Knesset, “the law which prevents granting pardon to prisoners, proposed by Ayelet Shaked and supported by all right-wing parties, forms another obstacle in the way of reaching a peaceful solution with the Palestinian people.”

He said not only does the legislation target Palestinian political prisoners or those arrested on criminal grounds, it is rather “part of a series of obstacles put forward by the Knesset’s government coalition and the cabinet against any attempt to advance a future political settlement.”

“The new law is an exceptional step in which the government accepts crippling its powers. This is evidence to a large competition between the government coalition in the Knesset and the cabinet in [hurrying] for enacting laws that are more racist and more extremist,” said Khenin.

“The law, passed by the Knesset, sends a clear message to the Palestinian people that there is no partner in the efforts aimed at reaching a future peace solution,” Khenin concluded.