Israel returned the body of 22-year-old Elias Salah-Yassin on Friday to his family, more than two months after he was killed during a stabbing attempt in Samaria.
The incident occurred in early October near Gitti Avisar Junction on Highway 5 outside the Israeli town of Barkan. Yassin lunged at IDF soldiers while brandishing a knife before being shot dead by troops from the Nahal Brigade. No one was injured,
The legality of holding onto the bodies of terrorists' has been debated multiple times by the High Court in recent years. In July, an expanded seven-justice bench failed to rule in a petition against returning the bodies.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that Israel must return the bodies of five Arab terrorists recovered from a terror tunnel built from the Gaza Strip into Israel and demolished by the IDF in October 2017. Twelve terrorists present inside the tunnel at the time of the demolition were killed. Of the 12 terrorists, the remains of five were recovered by IDF forces after the demolition was completed.
Relatives of the terrorists, the Hamas terror organization, and the Israeli-Arab NGO Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel demanded Israel return the bodies of the terrorists to Gaza – a demand the government had hitherto refused.
Adalah, a pro-BDS organization that opposes Israel's existence, had argued that "the holding of bodies contradicts the principles of international humanitarian law".
Bodies of individuals who are killed during situations of conflict must be returned to their families for burial with dignity. International humanitarian law prohibits using bodies for political purposes or as bargaining chips.”