Published on ד׳ בטבת תשע״ז | by Israel's Voice Staff0
Israel Refusing to Return Bodies of Hamas Terrorists Following Video Mocking Fallen Soldier
On Sunday Israel’s Security Cabinet ruled that it would not be releasing the bodies of Hamas terrorists killed during attacks on Israelis to their families. The government said the bodies would instead be buried.
The decision came after Hamas released a video mocking Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, believed by the army to have been killed in the 2014 Gaza war. The video showed a mock birthday party for the soldier who has been missing for three years and who has since been assumed dead.
“The political-security cabinet discussed standing policy on treatment of the bodies of Hamas terrorists killed during terror attacks and decided that they will not be returned but will be buried,” a statement posted on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official Twitter account said.
While it did not go into detail on the plans for the burial, it said that in the same meeting the discussion of returning the remains of IDF soldiers killed in the 2014 Gaza war and securing the release of two Israeli civilians missing in Gaza and believed to be held by Hamas. The statement said ministers decided on a “plan of action”, but did not elaborate.
Israel has, on past occasions, buried the bodies of slain militants at secret locations in remote parts of the country.
Hamas’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said in a New Year’s Eve statement that it had posted online “two video clips to mark the 23rd birthday of the Zionist soldier and prisoner Oron Shaul.”
The IDF believes that another soldier, Hadar Goldin, was killed along with Shaul two years ago and that Hamas is keeping their bodies as leverage.
Returning the bodies of Hamas terrorist could have also been used as a bargaining chip in negotiating the release of Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, two Israelis reportedly suffering from mental illness who are believed to be held by Hamas after crossing the border voluntarily.
In September, a senior Israeli official said that Israel had been holding 18 Palestinians from the enclave since the 2014 Gaza war as well as the bodies of 19 others and “offered to swap them for the bodies of the two Israeli soldiers.”
Netanyahu’s coordinator on the issue of POWs and MIAs Lior Lotan said at the time that Hamas rejected the offer.
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