The measure follows the repeated stabbings in recent months. Minister of Justice: “Youths who engage in terror and seek the death of Jewish civilians will not be shown mercy by the law”. Human rights groups criticize bill: “Rather than sending children to prison, Israel would be better off sending them to school".
Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Israeli lawmakers have approved jailing children as young as 12 convicted of "terrorist offences" following repeated attacks by young Palestinians. "The 'Youth Bill', which will allow the authorities to imprison a minor convicted of serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder or manslaughter even if he or she is under the age of 14, passed its second and third readings... Tuesday night," an English-language statement said.
It added that the seriousness of attacks in recent months "demands a more aggressive approach, including towards minors". "Youths, such as Ahmed Manasra, who engage in terror and seek the death of Jewish civilians will not be shown mercy by the law," said Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
Since October last year, following ultra-Orthodox Jews provocation of praying on Temple Mount, there have been multiple violent episodes in Israel and the Palestinian territories, in the context of the so-called "intifada of knives".
So far 219 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, a Sudanese and one Eritrean have been killed. Most Palestinians were shot dead as they tried to carry out stabbings or car rammings on passersby or Israeli soldiers. Others were killed during demonstrations or clashes with the military.
Israeli rights group B'Tselem criticised the Bill and Israel's treatment of Palestinian youths. "Rather than sending them to prison, Israel would be better off sending them to school where they could grow up in dignity and freedom not under occupation," it said in a statement on Wednesday.