Terrorist body return breached Israel's conditions

PM ordered return of terrorist's body same day as attack on condition of modest funeral - instead thousands paraded him with Hamas flags.

Ari Yashar ,

Riyad Shehada's funeral procession in Bitunia
Riyad Shehada's funeral procession in Bitunia
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday ordered that the body of an Arab terrorist who earlier in the day ran down three IDF soldiers be returned, but Palestinian media reveals that his conditions for the return were summarily breached.

The return of the body of the terrorist, who wounded three soldiers including one seriously in a car ramming attack near Dolev in Samaria, broke with the policy announced by Netanyahu before the Passover holiday. According to that policy, Israel would stop handing over bodies of terrorists for burial by their families as a deterrent step.

But an official tried to defend the controversial return ordered by the political echelon, telling Arutz Sheva on Tuesday that Netanyahu had authorized the Defense and Internal Security Ministers to return terrorists' bodies if conditions such as no massive funeral were met.

However, Palestinian media coverage of the ensuing funeral reveals that the terrorist was given a massive rally of honor in a huge funeral procession attended by thousands of Palestinian Arabs, which paraded his body through Samaria and in northern Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Ma'an News Agency reported that thousands attended the funeral, and published photos showing numerous Hamas terror flags as well as a sprinkling of yellow Fatah flags being waved in the course of the procession. The report can be viewed here.

The terrorist's body was wrapped in a green Hamas flag at certain parts of the procession according to the Ma'an photographic evidence, and was wrapped with a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag at other parts.

Riyad Shehada, a 36-year-old from Kalandiya in northeastern Jerusalem, was identified as the terrorist. His funeral on Wednesday began from the Ramallah governmental hospital and proceeded to his family's house in nearby Bitunia, reports Ma'an.

But the massive public honoring of the terrorist did not end there. His body was then taken to a mosque in Kalandiya for funeral prayers.

Huge numbers of Kalandiya residents then marched his body "to the al-Shuhada (Martyrs) Cemetery to put him to rest," reports the Palestinian news site, adding that his brother Abu Malek accused Israel of "executing" the terrorist.

Abu Malek noted that Shehad worked in aluminum manufacturing, and left behind a wife and five children.

The decision to return the body of the terrorist raised outrage in Israel. The father of one of the three soldiers wounded in the attack, Meir Mizrahi, said he was bitterly "disappointed" in Netanyahu over the move on Wednesday.

"Netanyahu promised that in every terror attack we won't return the bodies, and here the Defense Minister (Moshe Ya'alon) did the opposite of what the Prime Minister promised, and I'm really upset by that," said Mizrahi.

"One says one thing and the other says and does the opposite," he added. "I voted for Netanyahu and I am very disappointed by him. It makes no sense."

Earlier on Wednesday, Yisrael Beytenu chairperson Avigdor Liberman criticized Netanyahu for returning the terrorist's body, and demanded that he resign.



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