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Knesset advances discussions on Oct. 7 tribunal

"When dealing with terrorism, we have to rethink almost all the basic assumptions," said lawmaker Simcha Rothman.

Israeli lawmaker Simcha Rotman leads a committee meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem, Nov. 27, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Israeli lawmaker Simcha Rotman leads a committee meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem, Nov. 27, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

The Israeli parliament on Monday voted to form a subcommittee that will work to create a legal framework for the prosecution of Hamas terrorists who participated in the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre, local media reported.

“Time and again, we have encountered the huge gap that exists in the ability of the criminal law in Israel and abroad to cope with terrorist attacks,” stated Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman Simcha Rothman, who will chair the subcommittee.

“When dealing with terrorism, we have to rethink almost all the basic assumptions both in the executive branch and in the judicial branch. The legislative authority should give its opinion on the legal issues,” added Rothman.

According to Israel’s Kan News public broadcaster, Monday’s procedural meeting was initially scheduled to take place last week, but was delayed due to fears the discussion might endanger the ceasefire deal with Hamas, which fell apart on Dec. 1.

The Knesset also decided that the newly-established subcommittee would meet behind closed doors, according to the report. Lawmakers of the Arab Hadash-Ta’al and Islamist Ra’am parties were reportedly precluded from participating so as to not damage the process.

In a statement to Ynet, Rothman clarified that some of the discussions were confidential due to their sensitivity, adding that a “limited forum” is required which will be determined according to the size of the various Knesset factions.

Some 200 Hamas terrorists were captured in Israel during the Oct. 7 invasion, and additional terrorists are being taken prisoner as the Israel Defense Forces continues its ground offensive against the terror organization in the Gaza Strip.

The Knesset is likely to pass legislation to form and empower a special tribunal “to present to the world the goals, roots, funders and activities of the murderous [Hamas] terror group,” Kan News reported last month.

Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, the Office of the State Attorney, the Court Administration and the Public Defense Office all believe that the normal judicial procedure, via the regular court system, is not suitable to try Oct. 7 terrorists, Kan said at the time.

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