Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called for the execution of a Palestinian who stabbed to death three Israelis last week as tensions rose over new security measures at a Jerusalem holy site.
“The death penalty for terrorists — it’s time to implement it in severe cases,” he said while speaking with family members of the victims, a video of which was posted on Netanyahu’s Twitter account.
“It’s anchored in the law. You need the judges to rule unanimously on it, but if you want to know the government’s position and my position as prime minister — in a case like this, of a base murderer like this — he should be executed. He should simply not smile anymore.”
A 19-year-old Palestinian broke into a home in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank on July 21 and stabbed four Israelis during a Sabbath dinner, killing three of them.
He was shot and wounded by a neighbour, an off-duty soldier.
The stabbings came after a day of protests and clashes over new Israeli security measures at Jerusalem’s Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, installed after a July 14 attack nearby killed two policemen.
Five Palestinians were killed in clashes on July 21 and 22.
Israel removed the last of the new security measures on Thursday and Palestinians ended a boycott of the site, which includes Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
Clashes erupted between Israeli police and Palestinians as thousands of worshippers entered the compound on Thursday for the first time in two weeks.
Because the stabbings of the Israelis occurred in the West Bank, a military court would have jurisdiction under Israeli law.
Three military judges must unanimously approve any death penalty in military courts.
Israel has not carried out any executions since 1962.
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