Israel will not return the bodies of Hamas-linked Palestinian assailants killed during alleged terror attacks to their families, the cabinet decided on Sunday.
- Israel hands over seven bodies of Palestinian assailants
- Israel to withhold bodies of Hamas-linked terrorists, return others to families
- Israel informs High Court it will return seven of 10 Palestinian assailants' bodies
Instead, their bodies will be interred in a cemetery established for this purpose.
The Prime Minister's Office said that the cabinet meeting focused on ways to win the return of Israeli civilians held in Gaza and bodies of soldiers killed there.
The decision was reached unanimously as part of Israel's attempt to use Palestinian relatives of assailants to pressure Hamas to return the bodies of fallen Israeli soldiers in return for their loved ones.
Last month, Israel's security cabinet decided to withhold the bodies of Palestinian assailants affiliated with Hamas and only return the bodies of other assailants to their families.
The policy was reached following a disagreement on the issue between Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who thoroughly opposed handing over the remains, and the Israeli army representative, who said the IDF supports returning the bodies to families.
The debate took place as part of the state's formulation of an answer to a High Court appeal filed by assailants' families demanding to receive their sons' remains for burial. The court asked the state to explain why it isn’t returning the bodies.
The state said in response to the petition saying it will hand over the bodies to the families of the deceased only if they agree to the Israel Defense Forces' conditions regarding the funerals. The remaining bodies belong to terrorists affiliated with Hamas and thus will not be handed over.