Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed support on Wednesday for expelling the families of Palestinian terrorists to the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu sought Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s legal opinion on the matter just days after the latter came out in opposition to deportations.
“Many terror attacks in recent months were carried out by terrorists who fit the profile of ‘lone attackers.’ These attackers come from families that support and assist their actions,” Netanyahu’s letter to Mandelblit read.
“I am requesting your legal opinion regarding the possibility of expelling family members that support terror to Gaza,” Netanyahu wrote. “I am convinced that such a measure will lead to a significant decrease in the number of terror attacks against the State of Israel, its citizens, and its residents.”
On Sunday, Mandelblit said he was against deportation of terrorists’ families, saying that it was a violation of both Israeli and international law. Mandelblit also warned that the country’s opponents may use it to bring war crimes charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court.
An official answer from Mandelblit’s office is still forthcoming, but according to the Jerusalem Post, the attorney-general does not intend to change his position.
Netanyahu and many other rightwing Likud officials have expressed support for the idea of deportations.
Intelligence Services Minister Israel Katz, who initially called for the measure, said he would propose a bill for changing the law and permitting deportations.
“With the government’s support, we can change the law quickly,” Katz wrote on his Facebook page. “Then we will be able to handle the international pressure.”
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also endorsed the idea.
“We are doing everything possible to stop the terrorist attacks,” Erdan told Army Radio. “We have taken many steps and this is one more we would like to take. Knowing family members will be harmed when there is proof that they supported the attacks could decrease the chance that more such attacks will be carried out in the future.”
Former defense minister MK Amir Peretz (Zionist Union) condemned the initiative.
“This is a populist move among Likudniks competing over who can be more extreme,” Peretz said. “It may satisfy the public but it won’t help the fight against terrorism.”