“To what extent is it possible and desired to sentence terrorists to death” was one of the topics of discussion at a late September 1967 meeting of the Small Coordination Committee, held at the Ministry of Defense.
The death penalty is within the jurisdiction of the military courts the IDF started operating shortly after the 1967 war. The conclusion reached at the end of the discussion was that while the death penalty was an important tool for deterrence, the committee’s recommendation was to refrain from using it for fear the state would likely be unable to withstand pressures to reverse such sentences. The committee also determined that political factors should be taken into account in cases where the death penalty was being considered: if such a sentence is given, “it is preferable to do so in cases that are politically convenient to present.”
The members of the Coordination Committee (1) at the time were the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Arab Affairs, Shmuel Toledano; Military Advocate General, Col. Meir Shamgar and senior representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Security Service (Shin Bet), Israel Police and IDF. The committee was chaired by Col. Shlomo Gazit, who was the representative of Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. Other topics of discussion in this same meeting included the suggestion to offer a pardon to the “remaining terrorists” who turn themselves in and surrender their weapons. The Committee also decided that in cases of a ‘mixed’ marriage, i.e. between a resident of the East Bank and a resident of the West Bank, Israel would usually allow a wedding celebration near the border crossing – but only in cases where the West Bank spouse moves to Jordan.