RAMALA, 27 Nov. (DPA / EP) –
Israel's Defense Minister Naftalí Bennett has announced on Wednesday that the bodies of Palestinian assailants will not be returned to their families, in a change in Israeli policy that seeks to deter “terrorists.”
Bennett, who assumed the Defense portfolio this month, has indicated that he has given orders to completely suspend the delivery of bodies, regardless of which organization the failed attacker or attacker belongs to.
The Army and security forces have been informed of the change, which will come into full force after the approval of the security cabinet.
Israel tends to retain the bodies of Palestinian attackers to prevent funerals in which their martyrdom is celebrated and often use them as currency for the remains of Israeli soldiers in the hands of terrorist groups.
Currently, it is believed that two Israeli civilians who allegedly had mental problems would be in the hands of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, as well as the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed in 2014.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Defense, the change in policy is framed in a “broader deterrence process” against potential future attackers and exceptions will only be made by the minister's discretionary decision.
The Supreme Court of Israel approved the practice of retaining the bodies last September. Adalah, a legal group that advocates for the rights of Arabs in Israel, has described the practice of “collective punishment” and denounced that the court's decision violates International Law and Israeli law.
According to the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid, a Palestinian organization that tracks this issue, Israel currently has the bodies of 51 Palestinians, including Sami Abu Diak, a prisoner who died of cancer in Israeli custody this week.
The parents of Hadar Goldin, one of the Israeli soldiers whose body is being held in Gaza, have expressed their support for Bennett's decision and have called for the policy to expand, as reported by the Israeli radio.