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A 2006 ruling by Supreme Court Justice Asher Grunis on an issue is being cited as an indicator that he may prove inflexible in deciding on cases involving Palestinian prisoners.

The ruling involved the case of Abdel Kadr Nasser, a Palestinian resident of the West Bank city of Tul Karm who was arrested on suspicion of being in Israel illegally, involvement in the theft of a vehicle and interference with a police officer.

While in custody, he was informed by the authorities that his 14-year-old daughter had been shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces said she had been killed by mistake after approaching the separation fence.

Nasser's request to be allowed to attend his daughter's funeral was opposed by the prosecutor's office on the grounds that no legal provision allowed it, and the Tel Aviv District Court agreed. Nasser then appealed to the Supreme Court - although the funeral had by then taken place - asking to be released from prison for the three-day Muslim mourning period.

Grunis declined to rule immediately on the matter, referring it to a three-justice panel. This delayed the decision by four days, until after the mourning period.

Following the intervention of MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) and Zahava Gal-On (Meretz), Nasser was allowed to go home for the mourning period.

Grunis is expected to become court president if the Knesset passes legislation that would scrap the requirement that the president have a full three years to serve as president before the mandatory retirement age, 70.

Grunis would just fall short of the three years. He would become court president next year upon the retirement of the current chief justice, Dorit Beinisch.

A court spokesperson declined to comment on the matter yesterday.