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Israel will pay price for death penalty bill targeting Palestinians: PA official

Palestinians rally in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, outside the International Committee of the Red Cross building in Gaza City on February 14, 2022. (File photo by AFP)

The head of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Commission of Detainees Affairs says Israel’s passing of legislation to legalize the death penalty against Palestinians further exposes the murderous nature of the occupying regime, warning that Tel Aviv will soon pay the price for the controversial measure.

In a statement on Wednesday, Qadri Abu Bakr said the Israeli law was not the first of its kind as the Israeli regime is executing Palestinians on a daily basis.

Earlier in the day, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) gave preliminary approval to the bill, which would apply to Palestinians who kill Israelis, but not to Israelis who kill Palestinians.

Under the legislation, anyone who “intentionally or out of indifference causes the death of an Israeli citizen when the act is carried out from a racist motive or hate to a certain public… and with the purpose of harming the State of Israel and the rebirth of the Jewish people in its homeland.”

The measure is part of a broader drive by the Zionist regime to curb the powers of the judiciary, which has sparked mass protests.

“This is not the first law of its kind. Our prisoners have no fear of execution. Israel will soon pay the price for passing this legislation,” Abu Bakr said. “The approval of the law clearly showed the truth about Israel and exposed it to the world’s public opinion.”

Israel, he added, was not compelled to approve the death penalty law because the regime keeps executing Palestinians on a daily basis as was the case in the West Bank cities of Jenin, Nablus and Jericho.

Reports said Israel’s so-called security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party had long been pushing for the contentious legislation, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party was seeking to delay it.

The extreme right-wing parties in Netanyahu’s coalition are blackmailing his cabinet, Abu Bakr asserted.

‘Total fascism’

Meanwhile, the majority-Arab Hadash-Ta’al party criticized the law for crossing “a clear red line as part of Israel’s slide into total fascism.”

“Today it is the Palestinians, tomorrow it will be the protesters on the streets. Ben-Gvir will be easy on the trigger when it comes to determining who is a terrorist,” it said in a statement.

Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh called Wednesday’s vote “a continuation of a racist approach” by Israel.

“The one who should be tried for his crimes is the occupation, not a people suffering under the oppression of the occupiers,” he noted.

Separately, the Palestinian Authority said the “cruel, barbaric, and inhumane” legislation will lead to Palestinians “arbitrarily and ceremonially being put on death row.”

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