Relatives of the captives taken by Hamas during the October 7 attack in southern Israel are urging lawmakers to take a humanitarian approach in resolving the crisis. A proposal to make it easier to use capital punishment against Palestinian detainees has been advanced by the far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s party.
The families fear that discussing the death penalty could have catastrophic consequences for their loved ones held captive in Gaza. They argue that such discussions could lead to their relatives being harmed or even killed by Hamas. Yarden Gonen, whose sister Romi is among the hostages, pleaded with Ben-Gvir and his party colleagues not to pursue this bill, emphasizing the potential danger it poses.
The families are concerned that even the mention of executions could expose their relatives to unnecessary risks. They worry that pictures of their loved ones being murdered could circulate, with the state of Israel wrongly blamed for these atrocities. Gil Dilkma, a cousin to one of the captives, passionately appealed to Ben-Gvir to drop the legislation, appealing to his sense of compassion.
The Missing Families Forum expressed their disapproval of the discussion surrounding the death penalty, stating that it endangers the lives of the captives without serving any public purpose. Another family member emphasized the need to prioritize the rescue of Jews rather than discussing the killing of Arabs, highlighting the importance of a more humanitarian approach to the situation.
In response to these objections, some right-wing politicians questioned the families’ monopoly over pain and accused them of silencing others. However, it is crucial to consider the potential consequences and the humanitarian impact of pursuing the death penalty.
While some Israeli politicians argue that executions serve as a deterrent against terrorism, it is essential to adopt a more compassionate and humanitarian perspective in dealing with the crisis. The families believe that pursuing capital punishment is simply an act of revenge and does not align with Israel’s values as a nation that seeks to protect life.
The Likud party, currently in power, has demonstrated little interest in advancing the bill. The death penalty remains a rarely used option in Israel, with the last court-ordered execution occurring in 1962. Although Israeli military courts have the authority to impose the death penalty in cases involving Palestinians, it has never been implemented.
Linor Dan-Calderon, who has three relatives held captive, criticized Ben-Gvir’s party for having confused priorities. She stated that as a nation, Israel should prioritize pursuing life over seeking revenge, even considering historical events like the trial and execution of Adolf Eichmann.
The families of the captives hope for a more compassionate and humanitarian approach that focuses on the safe return of their loved ones rather than promoting additional violence. They appeal to lawmakers to prioritize their efforts on finding peaceful solutions to this distressing situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the proposed bill regarding capital punishment?
The bill would make it easier to use capital punishment against Palestinian detainees involved in the October 7 attack.
Why are the families opposing the bill?
The families fear that discussing the death penalty could put their loved ones held captive in Gaza at risk of harm or even death by Hamas.
What alternative approach do the families suggest?
The families urge lawmakers to adopt a humanitarian approach that prioritizes the safe return of their loved ones rather than pursuing revenge or violence.
How do the families believe the bill could harm their relatives?
The families worry that the discussion of executions may lead to their loved ones being harmed, and they fear that the resulting images could be wrongly used to blame the state of Israel instead of Hamas.
What is the stance of the Likud party on the bill?
The Likud party, which is currently in power, has shown little interest in advancing the bill.