Israeli Knesset Passes Law Limiting Future Prisoner Releases
The Knesset approved a bill submitted by Member of Knesset Ayelet Shaked (Habayit HaYehudi), which effectively prevents the government from releasing prisoners in any future political deals.
The bill creates a new charge in murder cases, “murder under extraordinarily severe circumstances.” Prisoners convicted of murder in this category, under the bill, are unable to be released early by the government until 15 years of their sentence have passed; additionally, the sentence cannot be commuted to less than 40 years. The bill also specifies that prisoners cannot be released early in prisoner swap deals.
The bill only applies to future prisoners, and does not affect current terrorists in prison retroactively.
“Starting today, the real responsibility rests with the court judges; they have the power to do justice and strengthen the sense of security among the citizens of the country,” said Shaked. “This law can ensure that abhorrent murderers, such as those who killed the Fogel family will not be released in the future. I very much hope that there will be no need for this law, but history teaches us that there will be.”
Shaked was referring to the brutal murder of the Fogel family – Udi, 36, and Ruth, 35, and three of their six children, Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and Hadas, 3 months – in their home in Itamar in 2011.
In 2011, 1,027 prisoners were released for Gilad Schalit, a soldier who was kidnapped by Hezbollah. One of the freed prisoners, Ziad Awad, committed another murder upon his release. Awad killed Boruch Mizrahi, a police commander, near Hebron before Passover last year.
MK Esawi Frij (Meretz) voiced his disapproval of the new law, saying “This law has only one goal – to put a spoke in the wheels of any future peace process. You can try to resist it, but there will be a political solution, and there will be no political solution without the release of prisoners. All this will be thrown in the trash.”
By Tzvi Zucker
Tazpit News Agency