The reason for the High Court of Justice ruling on Thursday, that the government must return the bodies of terrorists taken from a blown tunnel in the Gaza Strip—in order to use them as a bargaining chip for the return of two bodies of IDF soldiers captured by Hamas in the 2014 war—was the lack of legislation on the matter.
Channel 2 reported on Thursday evening that as early as last Tuesday, even before the court ruling, a bill was placed on the Knesset table to correct this problem. The driving force behind the proposal have been the parents of Shir Hajaj, one of four soldiers killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem last January. The bill was drafted by the legal adviser of the rightwing Im Tirtzu movement, and MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu).
The bill is an amendment to the Anti-Terrorism bill, stating that in the event that a terrorist organization has the bodies of Israeli soldiers, and the Israeli security forces have the bodies of terrorists, the defense minister must issue an order forbidding the return of the terrorists’ bodies.
It is no surprise that the bill giving the Defense Minister (currently Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liberman) the authority to handle these cases is being promoted by the four MKs of the Yisrael Beiteinu faction, with Liberman’s blessings.
“The double standard according to which some claim that Israel is obligated to return the bodies of terrorists, while at the same time our soldiers are being held by Hamas without our being able to obtain any bit of information about them, must stop,” said MK Forer.
Herzl and Merav Hajaj, the parents of the late Shir, on Thursday responded to the Court ruling, saying: “We are two weeks before the memorial for Shir, and we are mourning her. Unfortunately, the terrorists will continue to celebrate the future funerals with dancing and giving away candy.”