BRUSSELS/JERUSALEM —The European Union opposes an Israeli bill tabled by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to institute capital punishment for terrorists.
The bill received in first reading preliminary backing from the Knesset last week.
In an interview with Ynet, EU’s Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret said such a capital punishment bill is a ‘’violation of human dignity, human rights.’’
“Our position is that the death penalty is in violation of human dignity and human rights,” he said. “All EU countries abolished the death penalty, in fact, in order to join the EU, a country must abolish the death penalty. It is in the European Union’s European Convention on Human Rights,” the ambassador added.
He also condemned terror attacks on Israelis. “Definitely, it is inhumane to carry out terror attacks against civilians and those must be condemned. We consistently condemn them; we find any terror attack unacceptable. The question is what is the solution. We do not believe that the death penalty is conducive to progress. It is a mutual value of ours on which the EU disagrees with Israel and we want to make our stance clear,” Giaufret said.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz came out against the bill, saying voting the proposal into law would be the “worst thing Israel could do to itself.
“I decide to vote in favor only after Netanyahu said that after the preliminary vote, the bill would return to the Cabinet for more deliberations,” Steinitz told the Israel Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) as he defended his vote in favor of the bill. “This law is the worst thing Israel can do to itself; the damage will exceed the benefit on an international level,” he said.
Former Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen also condemned the measure, saying it would increase the risk of Israelis being kidnapping and would help nothing. Attorney General Avichai Mandleblit and Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman have also said they oppose the law.