Knesset Panel Okays Bill to Revoke Terrorists' Citizenship

Another committee approves bill to halt payments for burials of slain terrorists.

The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee approved on Monday a bill that would enable the Interior Minister to revoke citizenship or residency of people who were convicted of offenses of abetting terrorism, membership of a terrorist organization, espionage or treason.

Also on Monday, the Knesset's Labor and Welfare Committee approved a bill that would end state payments for burials in Israel or overseas of people who have carried out terrorist-related crimes.

The citizenship bill, submitted a year ago by Likud MK Gilad Erdan, will now move on to the Knesset plenum for final approval. The bill renders redundant a number of similar bills submitted to the Knesset after the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. The attacks were carried out by East Jerusalem Arabs, who hold Israeli identity cards and formally enjoy unrestricted mobility in Israel.

During the citizenship bill hearing, a representative of theb Shin Bet security service demanded that revocation of citizenship should necessitate an administrative procedure only, and said that the new bill would complicate the system a great deal. Labor MK Ophir Pines-Paz told him that the demand was outrageous, and that the Shin Bet should be in the service of the state and not the other way around.

The committee also determined that the Interior Ministry would be able to revoke citizenship obtained with falsified papers, pending a court order, if the person at issue had been in Israel for more than a year. This is an improvement in the status of prospective deportees, whose citizenship, to date, has been revoked en masse, pending merely the recommendations of an unofficial panel.

Bill would ban payment for terrorists' burials

In tandem, the bill that would end state payments for burials of people who have carried out terrorist-related crimes will now move to its first reading in the Knesset plenum.

The bill was put forward by MK Gideon Saar (Likud). During the committee meeting, Saar referred to statistics from Israeli security sources showing that 10 Arab Israelis had been involved in aiding terror activities.

The bill would also bar payments for the burials of Jews found to have murdered for "nationalist" [ultra-right] purposes.

"Stripping benefits of Israeli citizens in the business of nationalistic crimes, and operating sanctions that strip payment for burial is likely to deter and aid Israel's struggle against terror," Saar said.

Ministry of Justice representative Shai Somech approved the bill, saying the death of a terrorist should not lead to their families being given rights after the death.

Committee chairman Itshac Galantee (Pensioners) said: "There is no public logic to grant benefits to a terrorist murderer and to his family".

MK Ran Cohen (Meretz) voted against the bill, claiming a suicide bomber doesn't care if his family is stripped of rights in the wake of his crime.

"We have seen research on the matter of house demolitions of terrorists. The stripping of burial payments doesn't constitute deterrence, doesn't punish the terrorist and is an inappropriate move," Cohen said.