EU Response to Israel’s ‘Death Penalty for Palestinians’ Bill Painfully Weak

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a joint press conference with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, Brussels, Belgium. (Photo: Anadolu Agency via MEMO)

By Ramona Wadi

Israel is planning a law which allows its military courts to sentence Palestinians to death. The bill to bring this about has passed its first reading in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. The aim of the legislation has been backed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who justified his stance before the parliamentary vote by stating, “A person who slaughters and laughs should not spend his life behind bars but be put to death.”

Given that the countless Palestinian civilians murdered by Israeli settlers and soldiers are conveniently forgotten by him and his odious colleagues, reminding Netanyahu that his words could just as easily be applied to the citizens and army upon which his colonial entity depends is useless. The difference between the judicial system applied by Israel to its violent settlers in the occupied territories and Palestinian civilians who are resisting colonial violence is astounding. There is an intentional disregard for Israel being the epitome of permanent provocation which has, over many decades, consolidated its colonial presence with impunity; it acts as if it is above the law in order to subjugate the colonized population.

Unsurprisingly, the EU has preferred to exclude this violent context from its reprimands to Israel, preferring instead to rely upon statements which serve as preludes to a discussion about the death penalty, rather than an argument against Israeli colonialism which the penalty will serve. To highlight its dismissal of the subject, the EU delegation in Israel voiced its opposition on Twitter, with one tweet merely stating: “The death penalty is incompatible with human dignity. It constitutes inhuman and degrading treatment, does not have any proved deterrent effect and allows judicial errors to become irreversible and fatal.”

The tweet does not go beyond shards of consciousness and basic knowledge. What the EU has intentionally left out is Israel’s quest for completing cycles of violence which leave Palestinians with no options for their resistance to its brutal military occupation. While the international community is desensitized to violence, politics have singled out exceptions that are still worthy of mention for political mileage. Genocide —the fact that the term is applied selectively depending upon the victims to be exploited notwithstanding — is one such example of extreme violence used for political benefit. The death penalty, under the auspices of maintaining a civilized society, is another. Astonishingly, an openly colonial state seeking to annihilate Palestine and its people does not fall within the international community’s concept of extreme violence.

The EU is no exception to this warped reasoning. Indeed, given its focus upon diplomacy while keeping a lower profile in other matters such as foreign intervention, the EU promotes such selective and discriminatory politics. However, given that Israel is expanding its possibilities for enshrining its state violence in law, it can also be said that the EU’s purported politics of non-violence is no longer adequate to conceal its lenient approach to Israel’s various forms of aggression against the Palestinians.

Furthermore, the EU has neglected to mention that the death penalty legislation can be used by Israel to criminalize Palestinian resistance irreversibly through state-sponsored killings. This complements its extrajudicial killings of Palestinians across the occupied territories, which have also become normalized forms of violence in the eyes of the international community.

If the murder of Palestinians in their homes, schools and streets — following the pattern set by Israel’s foundation upon terrorism and its regular use of violence for the past 70 years and more — fails to shock EU leaders and is ignored within the context of the proposed death penalty legislation, then Europe can abandon all pretense of being concerned about Israel’s application of the ultimate sanction against civilians convicted by a military court while living under colonial rule.

Israel is a serial offender in terms of international laws and conventions, but as the EU knows full well — and all too frequently condones — it treats such legalities with contempt. It is high time that Europe delivered more than mild rebukes to the Zionist state; its response to this bill is painfully weak.

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor (MEMO). She contributed this article to (This article was originally published in MEMO).

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  1. The World will not take the Palestinian cause seriously until Palestinians and Arabs do so; this will mean, that all Palestinians and Arabs must wake up; they must rise as lions, they must physically converge upon Palestine with the intention of reclaiming that which is rightly theirs, they must even just walk and march, if no means of transport is available, in large numbers, they must physically take themselves back to their rightful homes and possessions. This is a big ask, but the prize for success could not be larger; you will face extreme opposition to your return, there will be bullets bombs and explosives used to stop you, many will die, BUT, have we not noticed, many have been dying, over just the last fifty years, and that will continue for the next fifty years, unless Palestinians and Arabs rise-up and honour their Nations history, proven and endured in peace for these many millennia past; Rise-up I say, and caring people of the World will rise up with you. Do not pause because you think President Trump will be your saviour, he will not, he is a false prophet. We have witnessed the recent invasions of refugees into Europe from the Middle East; did you notice? they could not be stopped, they marched single mindedly with one intention, to live somewhere else, and they have succeeded. Palestinians and Arabs must emulate that example, go peaceably, but go, go in the supreme certainty that your cause is just, and go in the knowledge that “Ye are many and they are few”. If your current leaders will not organise and support this, then, they are not worthy, get some new ones who will. You must also realise, this message is the last “call”, the last chance to establish your future survival. Amen.

  2. No, I do not think so. Because “nuking” Palestinians in such close proximity to the beloved Jews, whether in “settlements” or not, would certainly obliterate many Jews too. I doubt you are serious in thinking that nukes might be used, all things considered. Now would be the optimum time for my urging to become reality; guided by voting indications at the U.N. ,the great majority of Governments is in sympathy with the Palestinians, sixty years has been a very long time for them to have suffered all this inhumane atrocity. Peoples of the World get this and it would not take very much for the World, or enough of them, to place the Jews between the proverbial rock and the ultimate very hard place. The Palestinian support at the U.N. will demand that the U.N. give recognition to the Palestinian State. Were the Palestinians presently trapped in the camps, to move peacefully upon the Jews en-mass, it would end their suffering. Once their State is legally recognised ,in these circumstances, the door will be opened for other Governments to act. For starters those Governments would not stand by and watch whilst the Jews cut them down like grass; those days would be over. Palestinians will re-occupy their rightful homelands, and if the God of Judaism objects then he/she could manifest and make clear his/her wishes, but do not hold your breath. Thank you for responding, regards Thomas.

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