Israel delays returning terrorists' bodies

Hours before return of first of ten terrorists, Israel Police announce delivery of Jerusalem stabber to be postponed until Tuesday.

Cynthia Blank ,

Zaka volunteers evacuate terrorist's bodies
Zaka volunteers evacuate terrorist's bodies
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Only a few hours before Israel was to deliver the body of the first of ten Arab terrorists it has agreed to return, the Israel Police announced to the lawyer representing the terrorists' families that the delivery is to be postponed until tomorrow. 

Mohammed Mahmoud claimed to Yedioth Ahronoth that police did not disclose the reason for the delay, but he estimates it was intended to calm the outcry over the agreement reached between the government and the families of the terrorists from eastern Jerusalem. 

The agreement, first reported on Monday morning, stipulates 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 body of Ras el-Amud resident Ahmed Abu Sha'aban was scheduled to be returned to his family at midnight tonight. 

Abu Sha'aban stabbed and moderately wounded a 65-year-old woman across the street from Jerusalem's central bus station in October at the start of the current terror wave.

The next terrorist to be returned after Abu Sha'aban is Musab al-Ghazali, who was eliminated in December after trying to stab a policeman at Jerusalem's IDF Square. 

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.

"The families received the news about the agreement with mixed feelings, joy mixed with sadness," Mahmoud said Monday. "I am confident the agreement reached yesterday with the police will be on Erdan's mind. It seems he realized that after four months of holding the bodies, it's not as useful as the defense minister estimates it to be."

Mahmoud also criticized the government's flip-flopping policy with regard to returning terrorists' bodies, asserting, "If they returned the body of Nashat Milhem who carried out a terrible, murderous attack and cost the state millions in the course of the manhunt after him, why don't they return Sha'aban's body?" 

"There is no logic in this," he blasted. "Either you decide not to return anyone or you return everyone."