Palestinian mourners carry the bodies of Maram Abu Ismail, 23, and her brother Ibrahim Taha, 16, who were shot dead by Israeli police last month at the Qalandiya checkpoint.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has order a halt on the return of bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out terror attacks, following a funeral in East Jerusalem Monday night that he said violated understandings reached between police and the families of the attackers.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Erdan wrote “I just saw the outrageous photos from the funeral overnight in east Jerusalem which violated the police stipulations given to the family of the terrorist, who held a funeral with a large number of attendees and calls for violence and support for terrorism.”
He continued “the families of terrorists lied to the High Court when they vowed to adhere to the police stipulations and it’s a shame that the High Court believed them, and exerted pressure on the police to return the bodies in time for Ramadan.”
The funeral in question was for Alaa Abu Jamal, a Jabal Mukaber resident who last year rammed his car into a bus stop in the city, and then hacked a man to death with a meat cleaver on the sidewalk, before he was shot dead by a security guard. A video of the funeral online showed large crowds chanting and carrying the body aloft, contrary to the agreements, which stipulate that the ceremonies only host a small number of participants, and are held only at night.
In May, the High Court approved a plan put forward by the state to release the bodies of nine east Jerusalem Arabs involved in terror attacks, following a petition by a number of rights groups. The ruling did not stipulate a time frame, and did not require the state to lift its conditions for the funerals.
That ruling followed a move by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March, in which he ordered then Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to stop the transfer of the remains of terrorists, arguing that the subsequent mass funerals fuel additional violence. Erdan already had issued a halt on the transfers, and Netanyahu’s move extended the policy to the West Bank. Then Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon was of the position that retaining the bodies only encouraged more violence.
In early May, Israel returned to the Palestinian Authority the body of an attacker who rammed into three soldiers near Dolev in the West Bank, a move that was met by criticism from a number of politicians, including members of Netanyahu’s cabinet.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said the return “shames the public and weakens our deterrence towards terrorists”, and called on Netanyahu to resign.