Bill for Revoking Citizenship of Terrorist Paid by the PA Approved in First Reading


The Bill for Revoking the Citizenship or Residency Status of a Terrorist Operative Receiving Compensation for Committing an Act of Terrorism was approved in its first reading in the Knesset on Monday night by a vote of 89-8.

Many opposition MKs voted with the coalition to form a sweeping majority, reflecting the strong nationwide feelings in the wake of the terror attack in Neve Yaakov in Yerushalayim last Shabbos that left seven Israelis dead Hy”d and several others wounded.

The bill proposes that when a person has been convicted of committing an act of terrorism and has been sentenced to prison, he shall be considered to have relinquished his citizenship or permanent residency license, as the case may be, if it is proved to the satisfaction of the Minister of Interior that he has received payment from the Palestinian Authority, directly or indirectly, for committing the act. Such a person will be relocated at the end of his prison sentence to the Palestinian Authority territories, in accordance with Section 13 of the Entry into Israel Law.

After the Joint Committee of the House Committee and the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee unanimously voted to approve the bill for its first reading, Committee Chair MK Ofir Katz (Likud) said “Let there be no mistake, as far as we are concerned, it doesn’t matter if it is a terror organization or a lone terrorist. I promise the bereaved families who are here or are watching us: This law will pass and justice will be done. Moreover, we will not allow a situation where, while our brothers are bleeding to death, just a few meters away the families of the terrorists will joyfully hand out candy. Despicable terrorists will not live here. We will put an end to this as well later on. In previous discussions we saw that security elements are in favor, as are the members of the coalition and most of the members of the opposition. Together, we will put an end to the price list for murdering Jews.”

Attorney Avital Sternberg, a senior legal advisor at the Ministry of Justice, said “The revisions that have been made in the bill are significant, and we are of the opinion that despite the difficulties in the proposal, it apparently passes the test of constitutional validity. However, despite our inquiries, we have not been able to obtain information on whether these prisoners will in fact be granted an alternate status of permanent residency. This may damage the constitutional validity of the law. It would be a shame if it would [not pass] due to a procedural defect.”

MK Amit Halevi (Likud) said in response: “We are in a discussion in the Knesset, this isn’t the rules of evidence, and we determine the norms. We are deciding that whoever receives money from the Palestinian Authority is considered, as far as we are concerned, a citizen of the Palestinian Authority, regardless of what the Palestinian Authority thinks. Receiving money is the normative evidence we have set as a stipulation. There is no need to look for an additional link.”

Former MK Mossi Raz said, “Where exactly are we going to deport to? The last time we deported terrorists it only strengthened terror. Acts of terror emanate also from territories that are not Israeli territories, so this decision will not necessarily [reduce the number of] acts of terror. If we believe that this deterrence is appropriate, then perhaps we should also apply it to the murderer of the prime minister and the murderer of Emil Grunzweig.”

Committee Chair MK Katz summed up the meeting, saying “Unfortunately, we cannot turn back time, but we will prevent the vile terrorists from getting money for murdering Jews. And those who will prefer to receive the money, we will boot them out of here. When you bow to terror, you get even more terror. There are those who sanctify death, and there are those who sanctify life. We are correcting a historic injustice here.”

The bill is expected to be tabled for its first reading in the Knesset Plenum later in the day. ​

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