MK Ayman Odeh
MK Ayman OdehArutz Haknesset

The Knesset approved on Wednesday the bill submitted by MK Tzvi Sukkot, which amends the Counterterrorism Law and states that one who publishes words of praise, sympathy, or encouragement for terrorists can be punished with up to five years of jail time.

The bill was passed with a majority of 33 for to 7 against.

During the deliberations, a storm erupted in the Knesset plenum when MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) stated in regard to the IDF operation in Jenin: "Every action has a reaction. There's a reaction to the occupation, and that's the resistance. Long live the Jenin Refugee Camp! Boo to you!"

The bill's explanation states that the Counterterrorism Law prohibits solidarity with an act of terror or a terror organization, but the law's clauses do not supply law enforcement with tools against one who publishes words of praise and sympathy for a terrorist who carries out an attack. The bill seeks to fix this and establish that one who shows solidarity with a terrorist, for instance, on social media, could be punished with up to five years of jail time.

In addition, the bill discontinues the need to prove the incitement's influence.

According to the current law, in order to convict a suspect under this clause, there is a need to prove that the praise could cause additional acts of terror, and the requirement for such proof caused a lot of red tape and difficulty when convicting inciters. MK Sukkot's bill's explanation states: "Due to the severity of expressing solidarity or sympathy for an act of terror or its perpetrators, it is proposed to stop the probability test that is required today. The support and solidarity with terror are not protected by freedom of speech, they are severe by themselves without connection to the consequences they may bring."

MK Tzvi Sukkot commented following the bill's approval: "Now when terror is striking with might, we need to strengthen the justice system's ability to fight the incitement without entering the world of probability. Giant signs praising terrorists and posts on social media influence the next terrorist, and there is no need to prove if, as a result of this specific sign, someone will go and murder Jews. Freedom of speech does not include freedom of incitement, we must beef up enforcement against incitement to stop the next terror attacks. This is a historic day that strengthens law enforcement and gives it tools to really fight terror.