Since 2013, The Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet) said Sunday, terrorists being held in Israeli prisons were involved in planning eleven attempted kidnappings of soldiers and civilians throughout Israel. The information was revealed after a joint ISA-Prisons Service investigation, the agency said.
So far, the agency said, security forces have been able to uncover and stop these plots before they actually came to fruition, although several of the plots were already in play when they were halted. At least half of the attempts were planned and executed by the Fatah terrorist organization, the main ruling body in Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority. The rest of the attempts were planned by members of Hamas and other terror groups.
The purpose of the kidnappings, the ISA said, was to capture an Israeli, who would be held hostage, to be freed only upon the mass release of terrorists from Israeli prisons. Details of the plots were still under wraps, but officials said that the terrorists communicated their plans via visitors, including family members.
Last month, the ISA revealed that a terror cell had planned to carry out a series of kidnappings after their release from prison. The attack, which was in the planning stages, was supposed to take place in April, 2014. Involved in the plot, the ISA said, were Fatah terrorists Abd al-Rahman Uthman and Ibd Alatim Ibd Alhaq, both of whom are serving life sentences.
The two, along with another terrorist, Issam Zin-Eddin, recruited several fellow terrorists from within prison, as well as funds from Hamas, weapons, and other supplies, in order to carry out their attack after their releases. The plans included stealing a vehicle and meeting with a "sponsor" for the terror attack in Saudi Arabia, as well as kidnapping soldiers on duty at the Ariel, Yitzhar, and Hawara junctions in Samaria. Communications were established via cell phones smuggled into the prison walls via family members visiting the incarcerated terrorists.
After that report emerged, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called for implementing a death sentence for terrorists involved in murders of Israelis. After the murder of the Fogel family [in Itamar, 2011 - ed.] I supported the death penalty for terrorists - and, unfortunately, I have not been able [to pass it into law] in the meantime," he added. "We need to advance the possibility of military courts handing down the death penalty for terrorist murderers and restore deterrent measures for terrorism into Israel's legal system.”
Later Sunday, the government is expected to approve a law that would prevent mass releases of terrorists. The law, proposed by MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), would allow a court to write into its sentence of a terrorist a clause that would prevent the President from signing off on the pardon of a terrorist.
If passed into law, the bill would change one of the country's Basic Laws, which effectively function as Israel's constitution. Under the Basic Law of the President of the State, passed in 1964, Israel's President has the power to pardon criminals. The new amendment would change this rule, preventing a convicted terrorist from being pardoned for his crimes if the court sentencing him so decides.
The bill has already garnered tremendous cross-party support: it was signed by members of Jewish Home, HaTnua, Likud, Yisrael Beyteinu and Kadima.