MUSLIMS ARGUE with Border Police officers as they carry a coffin at an entrance to the Temple Mount on July 16, wishing to hold a funeral inside the Aksa Mosque..
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced on Sunday his intention to advance legislation that will allow the police to set conditions for terrorists’ funerals and not return their bodies until their families accept them.
The suggested measure – private legislation what will be submitted by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) and MK Anat Berko (Likud) – aims to combat the phenomenon of incitement that is often found at the funerals of terrorists, Erdan said. Under the proposed law, the police would have the right to decide when the bodies of terrorists will be returned to their families.
“In recent years we have witnessed an increasing phenomenon in which after a terrorist attack, we see acts of incitement, encouragement and support for the attack,” said a statement issued by Erdan’s office on Sunday.
“We especially see these kinds of acts at the terrorists’ funerals.
More than once we have seen people holding signs and heard speeches and calls in support of terrorist attacks, or to take action to carry out further attacks,” the statement said.
Erdan has voiced numerous times his objection to automatically handing over terrorists’ bodies to their families. After the Temple Mount attack in July, in which two policemen were killed, Erdan backed the police’s stance to set conditions for the murderers’ Umm el-Fahm families to receive their bodies.
The suggested legislation intends to amend the current situation in light of past rulings of the High Court of Justice that said that bodies of terrorists should be returned to their families for burial, while police and other authorities held the opposite position.
Erdan said on Sunday that his duty as public security minister is to prevent funerals from becoming a staging place for inciting incidents.
“These kind of funerals are making people go and carry out attacks,” he said. “We’ve seen it in the mass funeral of the terrorists in Umm el-Fahm. [From now on] terrorists’ funerals will be carried out only after [the families] will abide by the conditions that were set by the police.”
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, which filed a petition on this matter to the High Court, said holding bodies is illegal not only in Israel but also under international law.
“There is no similar case in [international] constitutional law and the human-rights laws of this kind of legislation,” it said. “The only circumstances in which it is allowed to hold bodies are when war conditions don’t allow [the parties] to transfer them. But since there is a cease-fire, they are obligated to transfer the bodies immediately.”
“Erdan’s legislation initiative is politicizing a humanitarian issue, and we call on Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to object to the bill,” Adalah said.