The Knesset has enacted a law that seeks to prevent terrorists convicted of murder from being released in future diplomatic negotiations.
An amendment to The Basic Law of the President of the State will restrict his power to pardon criminals by giving judges in cases of particular “cruelty” the discretion to deny parole for at least 40 years at the time of sentencing.
Opponents of the law objected that it would tie the government’s hands in future negotiations, as in the kind of prisoner swap that was made for Gilad Shalit or, more recently, to promote negotiations with the Palestinians.
But the bill’s proponents expressed satisfaction on its passage.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said the law “brings back sanity and morality to Israeli policy about releasing terrorists. Terrorists should die in prison and that is how it will be,” he said.
One of the bill’s sponsors, MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), said that now it is the judges’ responsibility to “do the right thing and increase citizens’ sense of security” by utilizing their new power.
The killer of 19-year-old Shelly Dadon last May, Hussein Yussuf Hasin Halifa, could be the first to have the law applied to him.
Shaked called for the prosecutors to demand the new punishment in his case.
The Shin Bet says Halifa, a taxi driver from Ibillin in the Galil, stabbed her to death after picking her up in his taxi.
Dadon’s father, Yaakov Dadon, said that “since there is no death penalty, I support that he spend life in prison. This law will help some murders be recognized as especially cruel, so that murderers like the one who killed my daughter, may her memory be blessed, will not be able to be freed from prison.”
There is no death penalty in Israel.