A bill proposing to deport families of Arab terrorists who carried out terror attacks to Gaza took another step forward on Wednesday after being submitted to the Knesset by Transport Minister Yisrael Katz of the Likud.
The proposed law is intended to serve as a deterrent to quell lone-wolf terror attacks against Israelis.
The bill is well-supported within the coalition, the report says, with the backing of Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Habayit Hayehudi and Kulanu MKs, as well as opposition MKs from Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beiteinu.
Yesh Atid chair Yair Lapid, who added his signature to the bill, said: “We must work together to give the security forces all possible tools to fight terror.”
At the beginning of March Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to conduct a legal review of a procedure that would allow the state to expel family members of Palestinian terrorists to Gaza.
“Many of the recent terror attacks have been committed by lone terrorists. Often these terrorists have come from families that encourage and assist them,” Netanyahu wrote in a letter to Mandelblit.
“[I] believe that using this tool can lead to a significant decrease in terror attacks against the State of Israel, its citizens and its residents,” the letter continued.
Mandelblit is known to be opposed to such a move due to international legal constraints.
The AG said that the law would be a violation of both Israeli and international law. According to a source present at the cabinet meeting during which Mandelblit raised his objection, the AG’s opposition is currently the only barrier to the proposed bill progressing in Israel.
Nonetheless, Netanyahu claimed that the legal restrictions preventing its implementation were a misinterpretation of international legal statute.
This is not the first time the proposal has been discussed. During the second intifada deportation was also considered, with then-Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein saying that it was permissible if it could be proven that the relatives had advance knowledge or had sheltered individuals being sought for arrest.
Deportations were only carried out after legal proceedings.