TEL AVIV – Israeli Ministers on Sunday night approved legislation that would allow Israel to expel the families of Palestinian terrorists from their homes to other areas of the West Bank within seven days of an attack or an attempted attack.
The bill, which was promoted by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and MK Motti Yogev from the Jewish Home party, was voted on by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation after a lengthy and complicated debate. It proceeded despite the opposition of the judicial authorities, Bennett’s party said in a statement.
According to the text of the bill, the IDF’s Central Command will be permitted to forcibly transfer the relatives of Palestinian terrorists from their hometowns to other areas of the West Bank as a form of deterrence that is “the cornerstone of Israeli security and a way to save lives and uphold law and order.”
At Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request, the bill was postponed several times in recent months.
“The approval of the law is an important step in the war against terrorism and the restoration of deterrence,” Bennett said after the vote. “The terrorists have stopped being afraid of us. Jews are murdered because participation in terror attacks has become a lucrative business, and legalization paralyzes the defense establishment from taking action.”
“I am happy that we decided to pass the law, despite the vigorous opposition of the jurists around Netanyahu. We are renewing the deterrence so that Israel can go back to winning,” he added.
According to The Times of Israel, security officials voiced their concerns over the bill during the Security Cabinet meeting.
The head of the Shin Bet security service, Nadav Argamon, has said the legislation would improve Israel’s deterrence.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has publicly argued that punishing the family of a terrorist is “unconstitutional” without first proving they aided or abetted the assailant.
Bennett re-issued his call for the bill to be approved following a series of terror attacks last week which claimed the lives of two soldiers and a baby born premature in an emergency delivery after his mother was shot along with nine other Israelis.
“The Palestinian terrorist must understand that violence doesn’t pay and the State of Israel will settle the score,” Bennett said at the time. “Deporting the families to another area will improve deterrence and send the message to the Palestinian public: There is zero tolerance for terrorism.”