Israel agrees to return terrorists’ bodies

Israel and Palestinian terrorists’ families have reached an agreement in principle to return terrorists’ bodies to the families after they have been held in Israel for a lengthy period.

The agreement regards ten bodies of terrorists from East Jerusalem who committed attacks in the wave of terror that struck Israel in recent months.

The issue caused controversy after three Arab MKs from Balad – Haneen Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka, and Basel Ghattas – met with the families and even observed a minute of silence with them. Balad members promised in that meeting to work towards convincing authorities to return the bodies to families for burial. The families also met with Palestinian chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

It appears that one body is already to be returned to the Palestinians on Monday night. According to the agreement that was reached, the funerals of these terrorists are to occur in the middle of the night and with only a limited number of family members present. Each family is to provide a financial guarantee to police – money that it will not get back if any of the burial conditions are violated.

The process of returning the bodies is expected to be lengthy and will continue only as long as the relatives meet the conditions. Security sources emphasized that Israel has no interest in holding terrorists’ bodies and it’s been made clear to families for months that bodies would be returned under the aforementioned conditions.

The bodies have not been released because they fall under the purview of the Interior Ministry, which opposed this policy, unlike the Defense Ministry. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan fiercely fought the plan, arguing that the families were not committed to the conditions and that the funerals become mass displays of incitement encouraging further terrorism.