(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Tali Fahima, the Israeli woman who was in prison for two years for assisting the head of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin, paid a visit on Tuesday to the east-Jerusalem mourning tent erected for the gunman who killed eight students in Thursday's shooting spree at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva.
"I was with the family, and I have no doubt that the Israeli security forces are mainly just exacerbating [the situation] and causing civilians to be killed, like the yeshiva students, because of the years-long policy of occupation," Fahima told Israel Radio.
She went on to say that she would happily visit the families of the slain yeshiva students, but she feared for her life. "If I arrived there, they would kill me."
Jerusalem Police said Monday that they were holding the body of the Mercaz Harav attacker, 25-year-old Ala Abu Dhaim, until his family agreed to hold a low-key funeral without media coverage.
Police are insisting on a small ceremony of no more than five immediate relatives, a friend of the gunman's family said.
Fahima urged Israel to release the terrorist's body to his family. "Give them their body right now," she said.
Fahima added that she was not at all concerned over possible Israeli responses to her visit. "When I stood as a human shield, they also branded me a traitor."
Fahima was released in January 2007 after serving over two years of her three-year jail sentence for aiding al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades leader Zakariya Zubeidi.
Fahima was convicted after visiting the West Bank town several times without permission. She was also accused of translating a classified military document for Zubeidi.
A parole board at Ma'asiyahu Prison accepted Fahima's request for an early release on the grounds that she had behaved well in prison and did not pose a threat to public safety.
Upon her release, Fahima said she regretted that she had not served her time in jail together with the Palestinian security prisoners.
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