Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan speaks at Knesset.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
There has been no agreement reached between the state and Palestinian families to return the bodies of terrorists killed during attacks on Israelis to their relatives, a spokesman for the Public Security Ministry said on Monday.
Earlier in the day Yediot Aharonot reported that a deal had been reached, the families would receive the bodies and begin conducting funerals already this week.
A spokesman for Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, whose ministry is in charge of the decision, said no such agreement had been reached and called the reports “nonsense.”
“The decision to return them depends on the behavior of the families and if they agree to meet our conditions, including that the funerals be quiet, small and peaceful affairs held at night,” he said.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Monday said she “fully supports the position of Minister Gilad Erdan, his decision that was also discussed in the cabinet and received our support was correct.”
She added that “the police did not want to transfer the cadavers of the murderers and create another large and disturbing event. Also, the families had to commit to certain conditions in order to receive the bodies and it was good that Minister Erdan stood his ground on that.”
In a statement on Monday, the organization Almagor, which advocates on behalf of the families of terrorism victims, said that they will launch a new protest effort against the return of the corpses, following the reports that an agreement had been reached.
Almagor said giving back the remains “would be a victory for the Arab MKs who met with the families of the terrorists.
They made a promise and now they’ve delivered the goods.”
They added that it would be “a slap in the face of the families of [IDF soldiers killed in Gaza] Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, whose bodies have yet to be returned.”
Muhammad Mahmoud, a lawyer representing the families of the terrorists from east Jerusalem, said that Israeli authorities notified him of the decision to delay handing over the body of Ahmad Abu Shaaban until Tuesday. He said that the body was originally supposed to be delivered to the family for burial on Monday.
The lawyer said he did not know why the Israeli authorities decided to postpone handing over the corpse of Shaaban, who was killed on October 14, when he was carrying out a stabbing attack at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.
Mahmoud said that according to understandings reached with the Jerusalem police, only 50 family members would be allowed to attend the terrorist’s funeral at the Muslim cemetery near Lion’s Gate outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Once the remains are handed over, the funeral must take place after midnight, the lawyer said.