Brawl at High Court between families of slain terrorists, Israeli victims

Violence breaks out between Israelis, Palestinians at court session over Israeli policy of withholding bodies of assailants

Chaos erupted at a High Court session in Jerusalem Tuesday, when a brawl broke out between the families of slain Palestinian terrorists and those of Jewish victims.

The families were participating in court deliberations on Israel’s policy of withholding the bodies of some Palestinian assailants for use as bargaining chips.

The father of Shir Hajaj, an IDF soldier killed in a January 2017 car ramming attack in Jerusalem, was addressing the judges when relatives of slain assailants interrupted him. Families from both sides began exchanging heated insults, which quickly turned to violence. Hadashot TV news broadcast footage of the confrontation.

The judges left the room and court security was called in to separate the sides. There was no immediate word on whether arrests were made.

In March, the Knesset passed a law allowing police to withhold the bodies of Palestinian assailants killed while carrying out terror attacks from burial.

The law came after the High Court of Justice in December ruled Israel could not longer use terrorists’ bodies as bargaining chips without legislation explicitly permitting the practice.

Under the law, district police commanders can determine whether to release terrorists’ bodies for burial. If there is concern the terrorist’s funeral could be used to carry out an attack or provide a platform for praising terrorism, police may keep the bodies in custody until further notice, it says.

The law says terrorists’ funerals in recent years have featured praise of terrorism and incitement for further attacks.

The family of a slain IDF soldier whose remains are held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip have also urged the state to hold on to terrorists’ bodies and use them to negotiate the return of soldiers’ bodies.

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