The High Court of Justice on Tuesday night ordered the police to return the bodies of the three Israeli-Arab attackers who killed two policemen at the Temple Mount on July 14.
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The bodies must be returned within 30 hours, the court said, and the families must be given two hours’ advance notice of their arrival.
But despite ordering the police to release the bodies, Justices Yoram Danziger, Daphne Barak-Erez and David Mintz stressed that the police retain full authority to impose restrictions on the funerals, in order to ensure they don’t disturb the peace or spark violent unrest.
They also refused to rule on the families’ demand that the bodies be autopsied, saying the proper venue for discussing that issue was a magistrate’s court.
The court’s ruling followed three days of unsuccessful negotiations between the families, represented by Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and the police over the way the funerals would be conducted.
Though the parties reached agreement on some issues, they were at odds over when the funerals would take place, and especially over the number of people who could attend. The police wanted only a few dozen people at each funeral, while the families wanted a few thousand, saying they all came from large clans.
The assailants – Mohammed Mafdal Jabareen, Mohammed Ahmed Musa Jabareen and Mohammed Hamed Jabareen – were all from the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm. Their families have argued that any further postponement of the funerals would make violent unrest more likely.