Law to Strip Terrorists of Citizenship/Permits Advances

Security Forces, Palestinian, Day of Rage
Israeli security forces quell a violent demonstration by Palestinians (not depicted) near the Jewish community of Beit El, north of Ramallah. (Flash90, File)

A law to strip terrorists and their families of Israeli citizenship or residency permits was introduced in the Knesset on Monday. The law, introduced by Yisrael Beytenu MK Robert Ilatov with the assistance of the Im Tirzu anti-terror organization, corrects a major flaw in Israeli policy. The law is an extension of a previous one proposed by Yisrael Beytenu MK David Rotem last year.

While Israel complains about the Palestinian Authority’s continued support for the family of terrorists, Israel in many cases does the same thing, if indirectly. Terrorists who are Israeli citizens are treated and tried as criminals, albeit in violation of security crimes. But there is no substantial difference between a terrorist carrying out a stabbing and a criminal killing someone in the course of a bank robbery, Ilatov said. “The situation today is that terrorists and their families continue to enjoy all the social benefits accruing to all Israelis,” including National Insurance payments, state-funded medical care, public education and other benefits.

The new law would allow the state to cancel all those benefits by removing citizenship from the terrorist and his family. Terrorists and their families who are Palestinian Authority residents would lose any benefits they get from Israel, and would lose their status as PA residents, as far as Israel is concerned. They would need to apply for a visa in order to enter Israel – an unlikely scenario, and impossible unless they had passports from Jordan or other countries, as the PA is not a sovereign state and cannot issue travel documents.

In order to avoid the edict, PA residents suspected of a security crime would have to prove that they had nothing to do with the crime, either directly or indirectly. “Removing their work or residency permits will bring with it a removal of their social rights,” the law’s backers said in a letter attached to the law. “The removal of citizenship or residency and work permits will be a fitting punishment for those who undertake terror attacks because they are opposed to the existence of Israel.”

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