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IDF returns 91 terrorist bodies to PA
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH, JOANNA PARASZCZUK
31/05/2012
PA to honor suicide bombers, terrorists by holding military funerals and a national rally in honor of "martyrs."
 
The IDF delivered the remains of Palestinian suicide bombers and other terrorists to representatives of the Palestinian Authority on Thursday.

Israel’s repatriation of the bodies is part of a goodwill gesture to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Almagor terror victims association lashed out against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Supreme Court President Asher Grunis for the decision to return the bodies.

"The PA should invite the prime minister and supreme court president to participate in the terrorists' funerals after they honored the terrorists and became high-level participants in the Palestinian saga, in which murdering terrorists become heroes and 'shahids,'" Almagor Chairman Meir Indor said Thursday, using the Arabic word for 'martyr.'

Almagor's comments came after the High Court of Justice early on Thursday morning rejected a petition to publish the names of the 91 terrorists whose bodies were being released.

Almagor filed the petition late on Wednesday night, just hours before the bodies were due to be returned to the PA.



The petition argued that publishing a list of the terrorists' names would give surviving terror victims and their families an opportunity to speak out about specific terrorists.

The petitioners also expressed concern that the PA would use the releases as an opportunity to glorify the terrorists and terrorism.

In rejecting the petition without passing it to a hearing before a panel of justices, Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger said Israel was releasing bodies and not prisoners who had not served their full sentences.

Danziger also noted that Almagor filed the petition a very short time before the scheduled releases.

On Thursday, Almagor called on the High Court to hold a hearing on the petition, and said it planned to ask Knesset to legislate to remedy what the terror victims association dubbed a "lack of legal status for victims of terrorist murderers, while the Palestinians have the right to build monuments to the murderers in Area A and B territories".

The terrorist bodies handed over include several suicide bombers who carried out the attacks on the No. 2 bus in Jerusalem’s Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood in August 2003 and at Cafe Hillel in the city’s German Colony neighborhood the next month.

Israel also handed over the remains of Hassan Sarahneh, who blew himself up at a hitchhiking post in Ashkelon in 1996, killing a female soldier, and the remains of Nasim Ja’bari and Ahmed Qawassmeh, the two suicide bombers who killed 16 people on two buses in Beersheba in 2004.

The list also includes Abdullah Badran, a suicide bomber who killed four Israelis at Tel Aviv’s Stage nightclub in 2005; Hiba Daraghmeh, the woman who blew herself up at a mall in Afula in 2003, killing three people; Hassan Abu Said, the Islamic Jihad terrorist who blew himself up at an open-air market in Hadera in 2005, killing five people; and Labib Azzam, who in 1995 murdered five Israelis and wounded 23 others in Ramat Gan.

In addition, Israel handed over the remains of the terrorists who carried out the Savoy Hotel attack in Tel Aviv in 1975, killing eight hostages.

The PA leadership is planning to honor the remains of Palestinian suicide bombers and other terrorists with full military funerals in Ramallah.

Prisoners Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqi said Thursday that the PA would hold a “national rally” in the Mukata presidential compound in Ramallah in honor of the “martyrs.” Attending the rally will be Abbas, PLO leaders, and families of the Palestinians who perpetrated suicide bombings and other attacks over the past three decades.

Qaraqi said that after the ceremony, the bodies would be sent to their hometowns, where each one would be buried in a military funeral. He said that 17 bodies whose hometowns were unknown would be buried in a Ramallah cemetery, also with full military honors.

Another 12 bodies will be transferred for burial in the Gaza Strip, the minister said.

Qaraqi called on Palestinians to consider Thursday a day of celebration for the return of the “martyrs” to their families.

JPOST.COM STAFF contributed to this report.
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