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rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon May 26 17:33:18 CDT 2008
MK Eldad: Death Penalty for Golan Land Concessions
Quoting from Israel's criminal legislation at a meeting of the Knesset
Golan Lobby on Monday, Knesset Member Arieh Eldad (National Union-National
Religious Party) said that relinquishing territory to Syria is a crime
that entails the death penalty.
If it turns out that Olmert is discussing relinquishing the Golan Heights,
Eldad said, then he should be charged with treason.
Dozens of MKs and Golan Heights community leaders participated in the
emergency meeting, called in the wake of last week's almost simultaneous
announcements by Syrian officials and by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that
negotiations were already underway with the Ba'athist dictatorship. Most
Kadima party ministers, however, indicated their opposition to turning
over the Golan Heights to Syria in any foreseeable deal.
"There is not a sane nation in the world that gives up the territory of
its homeland," MK Eldad declared, in response to statements by senior
politicians in the Kadima party in favor relinquishing the Golan to Syria.
"Whoever removes land from the State of Israel's sovereign territory is
subject to the death penalty," Eldad explained, adding, "Giving away the
Golan Heights to Syria is treason, and the punishment for a person who
commits treason under Israeli law is death."
Eldad took the issue up with the Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, as well.
He asked that Mazuz instruct the police to investigate Prime Minister
Olmert's statements regarding his negotiations with Syria. If it turns out
that Olmert is discussing relinquishing the Golan Heights, Eldad said,
then he should be charged with treason.
The Relevant Law
In his statements on Monday, MK Eldad quoted a subsection of the law
verbatim. The text of the law he referred to in part is as follows:
Section B: Treason
97 (a). A person who, with intent to violate the sovereignty of the state,
commits an act that has the potential to violate the state's sovereignty
is liable to life imprisonment or the death penalty.
97 (b). A person who, with intent that any area be withdrawn from the
sovereignty of the state or placed under the sovereignty of a foreign
state, commits an act that has the potential to bring this about is liable
to life imprisonment or the death penalty.
100. A person who commits an act revealing any one of the intentions
listed in sections 97, 98 or 99 is liable to 10 years imprisonment.
Negative Reactions to MK Eldad's Recitation
In reaction to MK Eldad's statements, far-left MK Ran Cohen (Meretz) said
that he would file a complaint against the National Union MK with Attorney
General Mazuz. Eldad's words "are reminiscent of the days before [former
Prime Minister Yitzchak] Rabin was killed, and should not be heard," Cohen
The Golan was annexed to Israel in 1981 and thus falls under the territory
defended by the penal code, Eldad responded. But Cohen dismissed Eldad's
argument, claiming that it was "completely clear" that the law was meant
to apply to private citizens, not to government officials conducting peace
MK Ophir Pines (Labor) also requested that Mazuz open a criminal
investigation into Eldad's statements. "MK Eldad uses words that kill,"
Pines said. "He is breaking the rules of the democratic game and he does
not belong in the Knesset. After the murder of Rabin, it is impermissible
for a public figure to incite and promote sedition."
MK Collette Avital (Labor) was also in favor of prosecuting MK Eldad. "The
words of MK Eldad constitute incitement for its own sake," she said,
suggesting that the Knesset Ethics Committee look into removing his
Similar reactions were voiced by other MKs from Labor and Kadima, but not
only from the left side of the political spectrum.
"Our sages already instructed us: 'Wise ones - watch what you say!'" -- MK
Opposition leader MK Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) called on MK Eldad to
rescind his statements, saying, "His words are unacceptable and unworthy.
In a democracy, differences of opinion are decided at the polling booth
and not in any other way."
MK Reuven Rivlin, also from the Likud, said, "Such expressions may bring
about the destruction of the state of Israel."
MK Zevulun Orlev, head of the National Religious Party and a member of a
factional coalition with Eldad's National Union party, also insisted that
MK Eldad withdraw his statements: "Even though you depended on the treason
clause of the criminal code, it is absolutely clear that your call is
perceived - and may be understood - as justifying another political murder
of a prime minister."
Noting that he is on the same side of the Golan issue as Eldad, Orlev
warned, "Our sages already instructed us: 'Wise ones - watch what you
(source: Israel National News)
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