Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan ordered a freeze Tuesday on returning the bodies of Palestinian terrorists from East Jerusalem to their families.
The decision follows a months-long campaign by the families, including through appeals to the High Court of Justice, to have the bodies returned. Police have said they feared the funerals for the deceased attackers, who were killed as they stabbed, shot or rammed Israelis with cars over the past seven months, would turn into mass rallies in support of further terror attacks.
Police agreed to release the bodies after the families committed to hold private subdued funerals that would not include calls for further attacks.
On Monday night, the Ynet news site aired footage of a funeral in East Jerusalem that showed a crowd of some 200 residents demonstrating outside the cemetery with cries of “Allahu akbar” and “in spirit and blood we will redeem you, martyr.”
Border Police forces prevented the demonstrators from entering the cemetery and taking part in the burial of Alaa abu Jamal, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber who carried out the deadly attack last October in the capital.
Abu Jamal, whose relatives carried out the deadly terror attack at a synagogue in Har Nof in 2014, plowed his vehicle into a group of people standing at a bus stop on Malchei Yisrael Street in the Makor Baruch neighborhood. He then burst out of his vehicle, armed with a meat cleaver, and viciously attacked the survivors of his initial car ramming attack. Yeshayahu Kirshavski, 60, was killed, and his attacker shot by a security guard who rushed to the scene.
“I have just seen the outrageous images from the funeral,” Erdan wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, “in which the police’s conditions and the terrorist’s family’s commitments were breached. The [family] held a mass funeral, with cries of incitement and support for terror.
“The families of the terrorists lied to the High Court of Justice, and it’s a shame that the High Court believed them and pressured the police to hand over the bodies,” he added.
“I hope the High Court is exposed to these images of incitement, which must not be allowed to recur anywhere, and certainly not in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.”
According to Israel Radio and Ynet, police officials said Tuesday that the family fulfilled its commitments, noting that the large crowd and the calls in support of terror came from outside the cemetery, and were filmed as the body was taken from a nearby mosque toward the burial site.
Asked on Twitter about the contradictory assessments, Erdan responded in a tweet: “In the final analysis, there was a rally of incitement and support for terror. There’s no doubt that the crowd that showed up at the funeral was invited or knew of it through the family and organizers. That’s a violation.”
He added: “For our purposes, there’s no difference if the audience is standing inside the cemetery fence or outside it.”