Knesset Passes Law Allowing State to Refuse Return of Terrorists’ Bodies


The Knesset on Wednesday passed a law which allows Israeli authorities to refuse the return of the bodies of Palestinian terrorists killed while carrying out attacks.

The measure comes in response to an intervention by the High Court in December which said that the state could not continue to hold onto the bodies unless it passed a law explicitly authorizing the practice.

The law, which passed 48-10, also gives district police commanders discretion in imposing limits on funerals if there is reason to believe the funeral could be exploited for incitement to violence. The law notes that terrorists’ funerals in recent years have included praise of terror and inflammatory speeches.

Also on Wednesday, the state notified the High Court that it seeks to return within 72 hours the body of Ismail Abu Riala, who was killed in an incident with the Israeli Navy last week off the Gaza coast. Riala was in a boat that went outside the legally designated fishing zone, and ignored warnings from an Israeli patrol vessel to turn back.

The state acted in compliance with a petition filed by the family of slain Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin, Hy”d, who demanded that there must be a 72-hour warning before the bodies of terrorists who carried out attacks are returned, Arutz Sheva reported.

The Goldin family also said it will demand the state ensure the body’s release for burial not be used as a propaganda tool for Hamas.

“We mustn’t forget we are dealing with a terrorist organization that is run like a bunch of pirates, so any act of returning a body that Israel does isn’t properly received by Hamas leadership. In our view, returning a body that causes Hamas to hold a revival festival in the streets of Gaza is an unnecessary occurrence that harms Israel’s interest in returning the soldiers,” the family said.