Arab MKs win: Terrorists' bodies to be returned

After Balad MKs meet families of Jerusalem terrorists and promise return of bodies, government concedes to the demand.

Ari Yashar,

Funeral of returned terrorists (file)
Funeral of returned terrorists (file)
Flash 90

The meeting last week between three Arab MKs of the Joint List party's Balad faction and the families of Arab terrorists from Jerusalem apparently has borne fruit, as on Monday it was clarified that the bodies of the ten terrorists will be returned to their families.

The agreement in principle between the government and the families of the terrorists from eastern Jerusalem was made known to Yedioth Aharonoth on Monday morning. The terrorists were responsible for horrific murders in the current wave of attacks, including the shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem's Armon Hanatziv in which three elderly Israelis were murdered.

Just last week MKs Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas met with the families of the ten terrorists who hold residency status, and even stood with them for a moment of silence in memory of the murderers - the meeting has stirred an uproar and calls to suspend the three.

Zoabi, Zahalka and Ghattas promised the families of the terrorists that they would work with Israeli officials to return the bodies, and the families likewise met with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah who also promised to take action.

Those efforts apparently were successful despite the outrage over the meeting of the three Arab MKs with the families of terrorists, who the MKs described as "martyrs," calling the families "bereaved families."

First return - Monday night

According to Yedioth Aharonoth the first terrorist body is to be returned as soon as Monday night. The agreement will stipulate a night-time funeral with only the family members present. Each family will give a monetary guarantee to the police that will not be returned if the conditions are breached.

The decision comes despite a call by Prof. Simha Goldin on Monday, who demanded not to return the bodies of terrorists until the body of his son IDF soldier Hadar Goldin and the body of soldier Oron Shaul are returned by Hamas - the two have been held since 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

It is expected that the return of the ten terrorists' bodies will come in stages, and will only continue if the families live up to the agreements.

Given that the ten terrorists are residents of Israel, the return of their bodies has fallen under the jurisdiction of Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), who has firmly opposed returning the bodies as a deterrent measures.

His position stands in stark contrast with that of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud), who is responsible for the return of terrorists' bodies to Judea and Samaria and who has conducted numerous such returns, which have led to massive funerals in which the murderers are praised as heroes, inciting yet more attacks.

The agreement on returning the bodies comes in parallel to a campaign anticipated to begin in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria on Monday, which is dedicated to the ten terrorists and is called "the international day for Jerusalem martyrs."

Rallies are to take place in the center of Arab towns in Judea and Samaria, and likewise funds are to be collected for rebuilding the homes of the terrorists' families which were demolished or sealed off by the IDF.




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