A number of government ministers have expressed their opposition to returning the body of terrorist Daoud Zabuidi to his family without receiving the bodies of slain IDF soldiers and live citizens being held by Hamas in Gaza.
Zabuidi was a wanted terrorist who was among those who fired at IDF forces operating in Burkin who had entered the village in order to apprehend certain suspects. In the exchange of fire that ensued, an Israeli special forces officer, Noam Raz, was critically wounded and later succumbed to his injuries.
On Sunday, ministers Yehiel Tropper, Orna Barbivai, Oded Forer, Meir Cohen, Nitzan Horowitz, Merav Cohen, and acting coalition head Boaz Toporovsky, all called on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to refuse to hand over Zabuidi's body to his family for burial, unless Hamas first releases the bodies of slain IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, as well as two Israeli civilians being held in Gaza, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.
Their appeal was intended also to strengthen the hand of activists currently demonstrating outside the Knesset and demanding that the government make the return of the soldiers a precondition for any handing over of terrorist bodies to their families.
Also at the scene was Ra'am party head MK Mansour Abbas, who expressed support for the group's demand. "We must bring this chapter to a close and return the boys," Abbas said.
"There is absolutely no reason why we should return the body of Zabuidi when our soldiers and civilians are still in Gaza," Minister Oder Forer told Israel National News. "We have to do this properly - any humanitarian gesture we make should be matched by a humanitarian gesture from the other side."
Zabuidi was already the beneficiary of a humanitarian gesture from Israel when, after being severely injured in the firefight he partly provoked, he was taken to Israel's Rambam Hospital in Haifa to be treated for his wounds. He later died there as a result of his injuries.