Alwaght- Despite the international pressures on Israeli regime to stop its crimes against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Tel Aviv is escalating tensions. Already sentencing to life in prison young and old Palestinians and women and children for their struggle against occupation and violations by the Israeli military and settlers, the Apartheid regime this time resorted to another option to patch up the largely messy conditions in confrontation of new Palestinian intifada.
The Israeli parliament on Wednesday approved in the first voting stage a draft bill for execution of Palestinians. According to a statement published on the Knesset website, the draft was approved 52-49. In the draft of this law, presented by Limor Son Har Milkh, a member of the Knesset from the Utsama Yehudit party, it is stated that the court should sentence those who carry out operations against the settlers to death. In the draft bill presented by Limor Son Har-Melech, a member of the Knesset from Otzma Yehudit party, suggested that the court should sentence to death those acting against the settlers.
While supporting this bill, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the death penalty is considered justice in special cases. Recalling the July attack on a settlement in the West Bank, which resulted in the death of 3 settlers, Netanyahu claimed: “I have seen many shocking incidents throughout my life, but this incident seriously shocked me. People commit terrible crimes and there are many examples of people who should not have the right to live, and we passed this law for such situations.”
The bill needs another vote for final approval. The death sentence is not issued in Israeli civil courts and it is an option only for court-martials and in extremely exceptional circumstances.
In its seven-decade life, the Israeli regime has only executed two persons legally. The first one was Meir Tobiansky who was shot a few weeks after formation of the Israeli regime. The second one was Adolf Eichman, a German-Austrian Nazi Party official who was kidnapped in Argentina in 1962 and was tried and executed in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Haaretz newspaper reported that despite hardline advocacy for the bill, Shin Bet, the agency responsible for home security, has voiced its concern, arguing that if the bill is approved, Israelis could be kidnapped not only in Muslim but also Western countries. During the voting, Shin Bet chief reportedly objected to the motion.
Execution bill does not bring security
This bill is in line with Netanyahu hardline cabinet’s push to press the Palestinians and implement fascist policies, but the approval of such a bill amid the unrest in the Israeli society can trigger a Palestinian intifada along with provoking protests of the Israeli citizens themselves.
Behind this radical bill, the Israelis are seeking to check further anti-occupation struggle by the young Palestinians in the occupied territories during which so far about 50 Israelis were killed and tens of others injured.
But if we develop an understanding of the main intention behind the Palestinian operations, we would know that when the Palestinians go to fight the Israelis, they prepare themselves for any fate; whether it is death during the operation or execution. This law cannot bring security to the settlers and can even leads to the escalation of tensions because the security situation in the occupied territories is highly tense and fueling the fire of conflict in such a situation will bear dire consequences for the Israelis. Approval of this controversial bill on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, which is always pregnant with new developments, can end in a massive conflict between the Palestinian resistance groups and the Israeli military. This is while the Israeli security authorities have been taking some measures in recent weeks to prevent the escalation of conflict in Ramadan. Aqaba summit in Jordan last week that gathered Israeli officials and Palestinian Authority was also to reduce possibility of tensions, but it delivered the opposite.
Israel’s resorting to the death penalty comes at a time when the army and all security forces are in despair in the face of Palestinian armed operations, and the security authorities admit it and resort to what they think could intimidate the Palestinians. Netanyahu’s government, which is facing a massive wave of protests inside the occupied territories and does not have the power to deal with it on both internal and external fronts, last month approved the plan to arm the settlers for own security. It led to the escalation of tensions and recently hundreds of settlers attacked Hawara town in Nablus, injuring hundreds of Palestinians. Entrusting the security to the extremist settlers not only fails to protect stability and security, but also will fuel the fire of conflict in the West Bank.
Prisoners not afraid of execution
Until a couple of years ago, Israelis thought they could bring security and peace to the occupied territories with long-term prison sentences to the Palestinians, but this policy delivered the reverse, too, with the prisons where Palestinian prisoners kept sunken in heavy security atmosphere. This is majorly because the Palestinian captives continue their struggle from behind the bars along with their brothers outside the prison in Gaza and the West Bank. Their struggle is in the form of mass strikes and sit-ins that these days make a headache to Tel Aviv security officials. Recently, in response to the security measures in prisons, the striking prisoners announced that they will continue their hunger strike until their demands are met, even if their strike ends in death.
Palestinian reaction to execution bill
Always reacting to controversial moves by the Israeli regime, Palestinian groups this time, too, have strongly reacted to the execution bill.
Hamas Movement stressed in a statement that the approval of the first stage of the draft bill on the execution of Palestinian prisoners was an obvious attempt to legitimize the process of organized killings that the occupiers have put on the agenda against the Palestinians. Hamas, the archenemy of Israeli occupation in Palestine, described the bill as a “racist and criminal act that reflects the approaches of the occupying fascist government as well as the continuation of the policy of field executions, which the Israeli army carries out with complete composure in front of the eyes of the world.” Hamas asked the international community and the responsible institutions on the international arena to stand against the Israeli tension-generating moves through preventive measures and the trial of the government of this regime.
Fatah, the movement in control of the West Bank, said that the Knesset motion legitimizes the killing of Palestinians. The movement continued that by doing so, the Knesset looks to apply the most violent terrorism methods in a bid to eliminate the historical presence of the Palestinians.
“The approval of these laws proves that the political and security system of the Israeli regime is in crisis,” the statement further maintained.
The Center for Palestinian Prisoners said it will organize massive sit-ins in condemnation of the execution of Palestinian resistance members until it is revoked. The mass open hunger strike is planned to start in Ramadan, with its key aim being release of prisoners. Pointing out that the prisoners will continue disobedience until defeat of the prison authorities, the center added that the new law demonstrated the Israeli grudge, “but [execution] represents martyrdom to the Palestinian prisoners.”
The bill drew objection even from Western countries. Expressing her concern, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned that death penalty would be a “big mistake.”
The bill is advancing to its final stage while the Palestinian prisoners are in worst health and security conditions, with some calling it a “gradual execution.” The situation of the prisoners in Israeli prison was already poor and the measures taken by new National Security Minister Itmar Ben-Gvir have made things worse. Reports say that thousands of Palestinian prisoners are denied hot water and bath, an inhumane measure that is triggering mass hunger strikes and sit-ins.
The Arab world, which has turned a blind eye to the Israeli crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in recent years, should take a strong stance against the adventures of the hardline cabinet. The Persian Gulf sheikhdoms, which have closed their eyes to the Israeli crimes and driven the Palestinian cause off their agenda amid their engagement with Tel Aviv for normalization, are not anticipated to take a stance but other Arab countries that believe Palestine is still the biggest obsession of the Muslim world should take strong position to the Israeli atrocities. After all, the main driver behind Israeli criminal actions is the smooth positions by the Arabs who have betrayed the Palestinian cause.
Despite massive opposition in the occupied territories to the measures of the cabinet’s hardliners, Netanyahu and his allies continue to harm the Israelis more than foreign foes. Given the strained situation in the West Bank, the execution law does not seem to make a difference because the Palestinians are determined to continue their resistance. The more Israeli crimes, the stronger reactions by Palestinian resistance, something making Israeli collapse slope steeper. With the Tel Aviv officials these days admitting that Israeli regime is moving to its collapse, the far-right may contribute to this collapse with its radical measures even more than Palestinian struggle does.