Barak nixes transfer of suicide bomber bodies to PA

Good-will gesture to Abbas delayed over concerns that releasing terrorist remains may hinder efforts to secure release of Gilad Schalit.

Ehud Barak 311 (photo credit: Ariel Tarmoni/Defense Ministry)
Ehud Barak 311
(photo credit: Ariel Tarmoni/Defense Ministry)
Israel will not transfer the bodies of senior Palestinian terrorists, suicide bombers and former residents of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority in a planned gesture to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided on Tuesday.
Barak’s decision came a day after the PA and IDF confirmed that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had approved the transfer of 84 bodies of Palestinians killed since 1967 to Abbas ahead of the Muslim month of Ramadan.
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Early Tuesday morning, Barak suddenly decided to overturn his earlier decision to move forward with the gesture, citing concerns that the mass release of bodies – some of senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists – could be detrimental to Israeli efforts to secure the release of Gilad Schalit from Hamas captivity.
“Soon there won’t be anything left to transfer to them and there is room to consider transferring the bodies as opposed to leaving them in a temporary cemetery,” Barak said on the sidelines of an IDF brigade exercise in the Negev on Tuesday. “On the other hand, we need to check who we are transferring.”
In the afternoon, Barak announced his decision not to transfer the following bodies: Amad and Adal Awadalle, senior Hamas military commanders, Fuad Alkusama, a senior Hamas commander from Hebron, Abdullah Alkusami, a senior Hamas terrorist, Ramaz Aslim, the suicide bomber who killed seven people in Café Hillel in Jerusalem in 2003 and Hanadi Jaradat, the female suicide bomber who killed 21 people in the Maxim restaurant in Haifa in 2003.
Also on the list were - Ihab Abu-Salim, the suicide bomber who killed nine soldiers at a hitchhiking post outside the Tzrifin Base near Rishon Letzion in 2003, Abdullah Abdullah, the suicide bomber who killed four Israelis outside the Stage nightclub in Tel Aviv in 2005 and Amar Ali Abdullah, the suicide bomber who killed three people in the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv in 2004.
Barak also decided not to transfer the bodies of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, likely part of an effort to retain bargaining chips for future negotiations regarding Schalit.
The bodies will be taken from a cemetery near Allenby Bridge where some 150 bodies of Palestinians killed since the Six Day War are buried. The transfer is expected to take place in the coming weeks and will be overseen by the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.