Israel to return bodies of nine terrorists

Israel’s High Court of Justice on Thursday ruled that the state must return bodies of nine Arab terrorists to their families in East Jerusalem, according to media reports.

Police said the handover depended on adherence to certain conditions during the funerals, involving the time, location, and number of participants, and a commitment on the part of family members not to deliver inciting speeches.

Israel announced that the bodies would be returned by the time of the holiday of Ramadan next month.

The court also ruled that Israel must remove the remains from refrigeration 48 hours before the burial because families refused to bury frozen bodies – one of the reasons the gradual handover of bodies that began months ago was halted.

The Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday issued a statement saying that responsibility for the question of returning bodies had been given to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, thus nullifying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March decision to refrain from returning bodies of terrorists.

Netanyahu had in March decided to halt the return of bodies out of concern that their funerals were turning into anti-Israel political rallies.

Attorneys representing the families welcomed the decision, while stating concern that the government would end up delaying the handoff.