Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering establishing a special court to deal with security issues, according to two members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, where Netanyahu mentioned the issue on Wednesday.
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The Prime Minister’s bureau confirmed that he had mentioned such a court but would give no further details.
The issue of a special court came up during Netanyahu’s synopsis of the measures taken by the government in response to the spate of terror attacks over the last month. He declined to respond to questions from several Knesset members regarding how the court would be constituted.
MKs who were present at the meeting surmise that Netanyahu is interested in a court that would deal with issues such as the demolition of terrorists’ houses, administrative detentions, and the revocation of residence and citizenship from people suspected of terrorism. It could also deal with the wider issue of terrorism and its financing.
Netanyahu has stated publicly and in closed meetings in recent weeks that the judicial system is stalling the implementation of punitive measures against terrorists. The courts, he has said, are too slow when dealing with petitions relating to the demolition of terrorists’ houses.
According to the prime minister, punitive action against terrorists or their families should be taken as soon after the crime as possible, in order to impress upon perpetrators the price they are paying and deter other potential terrorists.
It is unclear whether the new system will rely on existing civilian and military courts or whether Netanyahu intends setting up a new judicial structure.
Until the 2000, the military court in Lod dealt with people accused of harming state security, under the authority of the British Mandatory Emergency Act of 1945.
Japanese Red Army terrorist Kozo Okamoto, who was part of a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine squad that carried out a massacre at Ben Gurion Airport in 1972, was tried by the Lod court, as were the two survivors of a Fatah group that attacked a bus in 1978.
Several countries, among them Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan, have courts that deal with terrorist activity or security matters and the US employed a military court at Guantanamo Bay. Human rights groups criticize such court proceedings, arguing that the judges are not independent and that the accused do not receive a fair trial.