First of 10 Jerusalem terrorists’ corpses returned to family members

Transfer made on precondition of non-violent, late-night, family-only funeral.

IDF special forces walk out of the Central Jerusalem Bus Station after a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli woman outside the terminal, October 14, 2015 (photo credit: REUTERS)
IDF special forces walk out of the Central Jerusalem Bus Station after a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli woman outside the terminal, October 14, 2015
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Following a contentious debate over the return of 10 east Jerusalem Arab terrorists’ corpses, the body of Ahmad Abu Shaaban was transferred to immediate family members in the capital’s Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amud early Monday.
Shaaban was shot dead during a stabbing attack at the capital’s central bus station in October. The transfer was made on the agreed precondition that Shaaban’s family does not incite violence and holds a modest, family-only funeral late at night.
The transfer of the first of the 10 corpses being held comes amid the government’s controversial mandate to delay the return of terrorists’ bodies since the latest round of deadly violence carried out in the capital.
The practice, adopted by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, and supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is intended to prevent the cycle of violence and incitement frequently associated with the return of a terrorist’s body.
Last Tuesday, a spokesman for Erdan denied a report claiming that all 10 corpses would be released to families in the coming days.
“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.
In a statement issued last week, the group Almagor, which advocates on behalf of the families of terrorism victims, threatened to protest the return of the corpses, which it deemed “a victory for the Arab MKs who met with the families of the terrorists.”
Almagor 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 terrorists from east Jerusalem, said Israeli authorities notified him of the decision to delay handing over the body of Shaaban.
Mahmoud said that according to an agreement reached with the Jerusalem police, only 50 family members would be allowed to attend the terrorist’s funeral at the Muslim cemetery near Lions’ Gate, outside the Old City of Jerusalem.
Once the remains were handed over, the funeral must take place after midnight, the lawyer said.
It remains unclear when the remaining nine corpses will be returned.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report.