For the first time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his support on Monday for a bill authorizing the government to order the expulsion of families of West Bank terrorists. His support comes despite reservations expressed by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit.
The bill, co-sponsored by Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett and Habayit Hayehudi Knesset member Moti Yogev, calls for the expulsion of terrorists’ families, saying this “is a proven deterrent that has the power to decrease terrorist attacks and save lives.”
It would give the GOC Central Command the authority to relocate a terrorist’s family from their home in the West Bank to another area within a week of the attack.
Speaking at a meeting of his Likud faction, Netanyahu said he was satisfied that the bill met all legal criteria, despite the opinions of some legal scholars that it did not.
Mendelblit is a vigorous opponent of both that bill and another bill passed by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, known as the “young settlements bill.”
Deputy Attorney General Ran Nazri told committee members on Monday that both bills were problematic from a constitutional point of view and in terms of the potential international reaction.
“This is a serious blow to the freedom and property of the families destined to be deported because of an act by a single family member without proof that they themselves are dangerous,” he said.
Yogev slammed Nazri’s opinion.
“Castrating the tools of deterrence through legal tools might defend Israel on the international front, but puts the lives of its citizens and soldiers at risk,” said Yogev.
On Monday, Bennett visited the Givat Asaf outpost, the site of a lethal terrorist shooting last week. Bennett said he would promote the bill, despite Mendelblit’s objections.
“Today, it pays for terrorists to kill Jews—they get an ‘exit’ of tens of thousands of shekels [in stipends paid by the Palestinian Authority], and at most their home might be demolished. It’s a great package deal.
“That’s what we want to change, to make it not worth the terrorists’ while. That is what we are fighting for. I hear that there is a desire to stall the bill in the legislative process, but we will promote it,” said Bennett.