IDF nixes requesting death penalty for Halamish terrorist
Military Advocate General quashes hopes expressed by Prime Minister Netanyahu that terrorist who slaughtered 3 in Halamish at their Shabbat dinner table will be handed the death sentence; 'The policy of law enforcement agencies in Israel is not to demand the death penalty...That remains unchanged.'
Yosef Salomon, 70, and his children Haya Salomon, 46, and Elad Salomon, 35, were celebrating what was supposed to be a happy occasion—the birth of a new son during their Friday night Shabbat meal—when the terrorist, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed from the nearby village of Kobar entered the house and stabbed four victims, killing three.
Afek’s announcement comes just a few days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his support for putting al-Abed to death.
His statements were made as he paid his respects to al-Abed's victims during a visit to the family home in Halamish.
"It's time we start giving death sentences to terrorists," the prime minister told the mourning family. "It's enshrined in law, it requires a unanimous decision by the judges, but they also want to know the government's position. And my position as the prime minister, in this instance of such a heinous murderer—he needs to be executed. We need to wipe the smile off his face."
At the end of last week, The Legal Forum For Israel also joined the prime minister in supporting the death penalty when attorney Yossi Fox approached Afek and demanded that the military court hand down the punishment.
Fox reminded Afek that the measure had the backing of Netanyahu and a plethora of senior ministers including Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz.
“Even though the State Attorney's Office is independent in its decisions to file indictments, and despite the fact that this is a matter of policy and general punishment, (the death penalty) aims to preserve peace and creat a deterrence which will prevent these kinds of massacres,” Fox said.
“It is within the authority of the entire defense establishment up to the level of the security cabinet headed by the prime minister.”
Two days ago, Afek’s bureau chief, Maj. Eli Levertov responded to Fox’s exhortations, telling him: “The military prosecutor works day and night to bring justice to terrorists who have harmed or attempted to harm the state’s citizens. The policy of law enforcement agencies in Israel is not to demand the death penalty, even when the right to do so is enshrined in law. This policy has been examined throughout the years … and has remained unchanged.”
Dissatisfied with the response, Fox wrote back expressing to Levertov his bewilderment with a reality in which Afek’s authority supersedes that of Israel’s top political echelons.
“It is inconceivable that the general policy of punishment for terrorists at the height of the wave of terror is determined by the military advocate general contrary to the position of the prime minister and the other cabinet ministers,” he said.