Middle East Monitor / November 15, 2022
Far-right Israeli MK Itamar Ben-Gvir has made the introduction of the death penalty for Palestinians found guilty of killing Israelis a condition for his faction to join Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government, Quds Press reported on Monday.
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, though, Netanyahu’s Likud party may not be very enthusiastic about such a move, even though there is probably a clear majority among the incoming far-right government that supports the death penalty. The Israeli newspaper reiterated that this was one of Ben-Gvir’s election campaign pledges.
The far-right extremist is believed to be seeking three ministerial portfolios for his party, including the Ministry of Internal Security, which oversees the police and prison services. If, as expected, he is appointed as Internal Security Minister, it is feared that he will follow through on his threats to place more restrictions on Palestinian prisoners. The possibility of execution, he believes, will deter Palestinian resistance activities.
Israel is currently holding 4,700 Palestinian prisoners, including 31 women and 175 children. There are 560 prisoners serving life sentences in Israeli jails. The total figure includes over 300 prisoners who have spent more than 20 years behind bars; 600 seriously ill prisoners and dozens of elderly persons. Eight prisoners are almost totally paralyzed, and hundreds are being held with neither charge nor trial.