JERUSALEM, August 3, 2016 (WAFA) – The Israeli Knesset Monday night approved a bill that would enable the jailing of minors as young as 12 who are convicted of so-called “acts of terror”.
Back in 2015, The Times of Israel reported that Israeli lawmakers voted 64 in favor and 22 against the amendment to the Youth Law, sponsored by Likud MK Anat Berko (Likud).
The bill was submitted by the Israeli ministries of justice and social welfare in cooperation with the private bill of Berko.
Berko said the fact that these acts of terror are carried out by minors, demands a more aggressive approach including toward minors who are convicted of offenses, particularly serious offenses.
According to the bill, young Palestinians who are accused of involvement in “acts of terror” would be held in a youth facility until the age of 14, and then transferred to prison.
Prison sentences could also be imposed on children under 14 if they are convicted of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter, states the bill, which was approved by the Knesset.
Arab members of the Knesset criticized the bill saying it is an attempt to take one section of the Youth Law, which deals with minors in the context of criminal law, and restrict it to terror.
The criticism stems from the lack of equal conduct between Palestinian youth and Israelis.
Arab MK said the bill is only part of the continued incitement against the Palestinian public.
A recent incident made headlines when thirteen-year-old Ahmed Manasra and his 15-year-old cousin Hassan Manasra chased after two Israelis, including a minor, in Jerusalem and stabbed them.
While Hassan was killed by police, Ahmad was hit by a car and arrested. A video emerged of the incident with Israeli passersby verbally attacking Ahmad while wounded on the ground.
According to the old Israeli law, if Ahmad was found guilty of attempted murder before reaching the age of 14, the judge would not have been able to sentence him to any jail time.
However, Ahmad was convicted in May 2016 on two counts of attempted murder for a stabbing the knife attack carried out when he was 13.
Israel’s penal code defines minors as people less than 18 years of age; for the purpose of prosecution for very serious crimes, the minimum age at which they can be tried as adults is 14.