Relatives of some of the 240 people held by Hamas in Gaza, urged far-right Israeli lawmakers on Monday not to impose the proposed death penalty on captured Palestinian militants, saying even talking about it could endanger the hostagesreports Reuters.
A number of suspected gunmen were detained after members of the armed Islamist faction breached the border into the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing more than 1,200 people and taking more than 240 hostages, according to Israel.
Israel’s Justice Ministry said on November 7 that a working group was discussing how to try Palestinians who were detained and to ensure “punishments commensurate with the gravity of the horrors committed” for those convicted.
Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has called for the death penalty, which is not included in Israeli law.
Some of the relatives of people held captive by Hamas in Gaza worry that the publicity surrounding the death penalty debate may trigger reprisalsalthough hopes of a deal to free some of the hostages are rising.
Hamas has ended negotiations for the hostages
The decision was made after the Israeli attack on Al-Shifa hospital
The hostages have already been threatened with execution by Hamas and are at risk of being injured or killed during the military offensive launched by Israel in response to the October 7 attack.
“That would mean playing along with their mind games. And in return we would get pictures of our loved ones, killed, liquidated, like the State of Israel, not them (Hamas) to blame for it,” said Yarden Gonen, whose sister Romi is among the hostages
“Don’t pursue this until they get back here,” she said. “Don’t get your hands on my sister’s blood.”
The only court-ordered execution in Israel is of convicted Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1962. Israeli military courts, which often hear cases involving Palestinians, have the power to issue the death sentence by unanimous decision of three judges, although it has never been implemented.
Extremist politicians over the years have proposed relaxing the terms of such sentences, saying executions deter terrorism.
Doing so is “more important now than ever,” Ben-Gvir said, “first and foremost, for the sake of those killed in the line of duty and, not least, so that no more people are kidnapped.”
His proposal is moving slowly through parliament. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party has shown little interest in the proposal.
Lawmaker Linor Dan-Calderon, three of whose relatives are held hostage, accused Ben-Gvir’s party of “confused priorities”.
“You are mistaken because we are a nation that values life, not one that pursues revenge – even if we did something to Eichmann in the past,” she said. “I’m just asking you to take this off the agenda.
Arab and Muslim ministers have called on Beijing for a ceasefire in Gaza
They seek support for the Palestinian cause among the permanent members of the UN Security Council