Israel’s incoming defense minister just proved he couldn’t care less about international criticism over the country’s discriminatory laws against Palestinians.
Avigdor Lieberman, known as one of the most extremist members of the Israeli government, has reportedly demanded for a death penalty for terrorism-related murders — but only in West Bank military courts.
Lieberman’s proposal automatically exempts Israelis and Jews from a death sentence because under Israel’s dual legal system, Arabs or Palestinians are tried in military courts while Israelis or Jews are tried in civilian courts.
A source in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party told Israeli newspaper Haaretz the new laws “will all but ensure that Jews will not be sentenced to death, even when they kill Palestinians in acts of terrorism.”
As blatantly discriminatory as the idea may be, it’s hardly surprising given the fact that Lieberman is the one who suggested it in the first place.
The ultranationalist politician of the Yisrael Beytenu party made headlines last year after suggesting Israeli Arabs who are disloyal to the State of Israel should have their heads chopped off.
"Whoever's with us should get everything — up to half the kingdom,” Lieberman stated at an elections conference last March. “Those who are against us, there's nothing to be done — we need to pick up an ax and cut off his head. Otherwise we won't survive here."
So, it’s pretty clear Lieberman has a penchant for capital punishment, especially for Palestinians. Unfortunately, this spells trouble for the Israeli government already under fire for unlawful killings, excessive use of force, torture, discrimination against Palestinians, especially minors, without proper trials.
However, considering how eager Netanyahu is to appoint an unabashed extremist like Lieberman, it doesn’t look like the Israeli government is interested in alleviating international human rights concerns.