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Netanyahu, Lieberman: No Early Release for Palestinians

Netanyahu, Lieberman: No Early Release for Palestinians

Monday, 17 September, 2018 - 08:15
Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Avigdor Lieberman | AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday he would thwart any early release of convicted Palestinians amid reports that the Israeli forces hope to form a parole committee for Palestinians serving life sentences handed down by West Bank military courts.

"As long as I am defense minister, no terrorist will get a shortened sentence, not even by on hour," Lieberman tweeted.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed Lieberman on Sunday, saying "I strongly oppose this (shortening the sentence". I know that this is also the position of the Defense Minister and, therefore, it will not happen."

Their remarks contradict reports from Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth saying Israeli forces will soon announce details of an order to establish an advisory parole board.

The order would require a change in existing Israeli law. The move is an attempt to equalize the military and civilian court systems in Israel. If they break the law, Palestinians living in the West Bank are tried and imprisoned by the Israeli military, whose prison system does not typically include an option for parole.

The military court system operates independently from Israel's civilian courts.

"Recently an order was signed according to which parole requests submitted to the head of the Central Command by prisoners sentenced to life in military court will be considered by an advisory committee headed by a military judge before they are brought to the commander," the Israeli army reportedly told Yedioth.

The committee will be organized similarly to the civilian equivalent. At present, there are several dozen convicted Palestinians serving life sentences for terrorism charges handed down by military courts. Palestinians with life sentences have only received parole if their release was stipulated in a political agreement or prisoner exchange deal.

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