GENEVA (24 February 2023) – UN experts* today expressed grave concern that the Israeli Ministerial Committee on Legislation will vote on a private member’s bill to reinstate the death penalty for persons defined as “terrorists” next week.

“The reinstatement of the death penalty is a deeply retrogressive step. More so when, on the face of it, the punishment will apply against minorities living within the State or those who live under the 55-year military occupation and rule,” the experts said.

The proposed legislation defines such persons as those who “intentionally or out of indifference cause 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 UN experts said that the proposed law further entrenches two classes of criminal law in the State. “One class which privileges and protects Israeli Jewish citizens of the State and one which further targets, marginalises and undervalues the lives of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory—and their fundamental rights to non-discrimination and self-determination,” they said.

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