Israel is refusing to return the bodies of the perpetrators of Tuesday’s Jerusalem terror attack to their families, a move that may be without precedent even in the long history of Israeli-Palestinian hostility. Four rabbis and a police officer died in the attack against a synagogue, which was carried out by cousins Odai Abed Abu Jamal, 22, and Ghassan Muhammad Abu Jamal, 32. From Haaretz:
This is apparently the first time that Israel has withheld the bodies of terrorists as a deterrent measure.
“We can’t commit to a certain date [for returning the bodies],” Chief Inspector Yigal Elmaliah, who was representing the Israel Police, told the court. “There are two aspects, the investigative aspect, which the court has seen, and another aspect that I’m not sure I’m authorized to report. For this reason we are arguing that this isn’t the forum to discuss it. The State of Israel is trying to cope with the recent wave of attacks. One possibility being considered is not to return the bodies to the families, but [for the state] to bury them. The issue is being examined at the highest levels.”
Objections to the move have been immediate. Said one representative of an Israeli human rights organization: “The state doesn’t need to trade in bodies.”
United States forces buried Osama Bin Laden’s body at sea after killing him in 2011.