The Land of Israel Lobby in the Knesset, which reconvened less than two weeks ago, has sprung into action with a new proposal aimed at ending the phenomenon of prime ministers releasing terrorists from prison as a “good-will gesture.”
The proposed law would strip the president, who signs off on prisoner pardons, of the right to release prisoners jailed for offenses motivated by nationalism.
Instead, the president would be able to pardon terrorists only if he or she could justify the early release on humanitarian grounds.
The restriction on the president’s power to pardon would not apply in the case of terrorist release in exchange for Israeli hostages. The bill’s backers in Knesset said they do not want to create legislation on the subject of prisoner exchanges prior to the release of the Shamgar Committee’s findings on the matter.
The new proposal comes as rumors abound that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is planning to release roughly 100 terrorists as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert released several hundred terrorists in multiple “goodwill” mass releases aimed at bringing Abbas to the negotiating table.
The proposal was put forth by MKs Orit Struk (Bayit Yehudi/Jewish Home) and Yariv Levin (Likud). It has been signed by MKs Gila Gamliel (Likud), Shimon Ohayon (Likud), Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi), Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi), Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi), Avraham Michaeli (Shas), Nissim Zeev (Shas), Israel Eichler (Yahadut Hatorah), Zvulun Kalfa (Bayit Yehudi), Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi), Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi), Yaakov Margi (Shas), and Robert Ilatov (Likud).