After a preliminary meeting took place last week between Israeli and Syrian leaders, several Israeli Knesset (Parliament) members have stated publicly that the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should be put to death if he agrees to give the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights back to Syria MK Arieh Eldad, a member of the right-wing National Union-National Religious Party, stated Monday that according to one definition of the state's Penal Code, anyone who acts to “remove lands from the State's territories and from its control will be sentenced to death”. His statement conspicuously omitted the fact that the Golan Heights was a part of the sovereign state of Syria until Israel invaded and seized the territory in 1967 to make it part of Israel.


The statement came during a special meeting of lobbyists on the Golan Heights issue.


Eldad's statement was reiterated by MK Effie Eitam, who is a resident of the Israeli settlement of Moshav Nov in the Golan. Eitam added that "we must make it clear that we are talking about death by a court of law”, according to Israeli sources.


MK Eldad sent a letter to Israel's Attorney General on Monday night after the meeting demanding an inquiry into the Prime Minister's negotiations with Syria on the question of the Golan Heights, and stating that the Prime Minister should be tried for treason if he has engaged in any diplomacy with Syria on the issue. In his letter, Eldad stated, "The Golan Heights Law from 1981 applies the Israeli law on the Golan Heights as it is a sovereign part of the State of Israel. The Israeli Penal Code from 1977 defines in clause 97B the term 'treason': A person who caused a territory to be removed from the State's sovereignty or enter the sovereignty of a foreign country, an act which could lead to a death sentence or life imprisonment."


Former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was also in attendance at Monday's meeting, and he stated, "the late Rabin said in 1992 that whoever withdraws from the Golan Heights would be endangering Israel's security. This statement was true then, it is true today, and it will be true tomorrow as well."


The remarks drew criticism from more moderate Knesset members. MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima) stated, "the leaders of the extreme Right have learned nothing from the Rabin murder. [Eldad] must immediately take back what he said."