Bibi Tells IDF to Hand Over Terrorist Remains for Ramadan
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the transfer of 84 terrorist bodies to the Palestinian Authority, the IDF Spokesman's Office revealed Monday.
The army's statement confirms reports in the PA media that Israel will be handing over the bodies, which include terrorists that carried out some of the worst attacks in the Jewish state's history.
"Upon completion of administrative work, and in coordination with all the relevant officials, it was decided to comply with the Palestinian request and hand over the bodies," the IDF said.
"At this time Civil Administration officials and their Palestinian counterparts are engaging in the coordination process regarding the manner and timing of handing over the bodies," the IDF's statement read.
Earlier Monday, PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh said 84 bodies of terrorists against the Jewish State since 1967 will be handed over to the PA.
The list is said to include, among others, the body of Hanadi Jaradat, the PA woman who blew herself up in Haifa's Maxim restaurant in 2003, killing 21 people. Terrorists are typically buried by the IDF in military-administered cemeteries for fallen enemies.
Officials say the return of the terrorist bodies is not related to efforts to secure the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Instead, IDF officials say, the transfer of bodies is intended to be a goodwill gesture for Ramadan.
"The move has no diplomatic significance, and had the Palestinians not announced the move, it would have likely continued to be discussed behind the scenes," an Israeli official said.
But some of the families of those killed by the terrorists want to know why 'gestures' are being made - especially when the bodies have value as diplomatic leverage.
"Why return them?" demanded Simon Elmakias, who lost a daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren in the Maxim terror attack. "I'd have cremated them. I wouldn't have given them a piece of ground to be buried in. I'd make sure there was nothing to give back. Return what? What for? A gesture? What nonsense this is! First, at least, make some noise from Gilad Shalit. Let's see it!"
"This government should be ashamed," Elmakias added. "It gives terrorists iPhone and degrees and conditions like a convalescent home. Who had the stupid idea to pay these people homage and allow them to be buried?"
"I feel sorry for this child," Elmakias said of Gilad Schalit. "I do not know how he'll be brought back. We're talking about a boy held hostage and we want to return the body of a female terrorist who murdered my whole family for nothing? That kind of talk takes me back into this nightmare. I will not countenance such a stupid idea."
The IDF said the decision had been made "several months ago."