The Knesset Internal Affairs Committee yesterday discussed the policy of refusing to return the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces to their families for burial.
Israeli authorities have repeatedly withheld bodies of alleged Palestinian assailants, part of a range of collective punishment measures that also include home demolition.
During the committee hearing, the parents of an Israeli soldier killed in occupied East Jerusalem in January 2017 said that “instead of debating whether or not to hold a body, there is one solution – to leave it in Israel permanently or to throw it into the sea”.
Committee chair MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) said: “These terrorists who try to inflict harm, they should be terminated on the spot”, adding: “We cannot deal with terrorists as though we are in Switzerland.”
He continued: “What the United States did with [Osama] Bin Laden is a great example of a country that fights back.”
The debate attracted cross-party support for the policy of withholding Palestinian bodies. MK Akram Hasoon (Kulanu) claimed that the funerals of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces “make 10,000 people anti-Israeli”, adding:
We should not return bodies. We should demolish homes.
MK Anat Berko (Likud), meanwhile, told the committee: “Terrorists who murder us deserve a donkey’s burial, at night, when no one can see.”
MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid), a former commander of the Jerusalem District Police, told the Knesset meeting: “I used to return bodies after a year, in the middle of the night, and I deployed 700 officers so that no one other than close relatives would leave the house.”