search

Israel bans East Jerusalem funerals for slain attackers

From now on, police will determine which Muslim cemeteries will be used to inter terrorists’ bodies, in bid to curb incitement at burials

Demonstrators shout praise for terrorist Alaa Abu Jamal in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, outside the cemetery where he was being buried on May 23, 2016. (screen capture: Ynet)
Demonstrators shout praise for terrorist Alaa Abu Jamal in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, outside the cemetery where he was being buried on May 23, 2016. (screen capture: Ynet)

The Israel Police on Wednesday decided to ban slain attackers from East Jerusalem from being buried in their home villages or neighborhoods, in an effort to clap down on incitement to violence.

Instead, the burials will take place in Muslim cemeteries chosen by the police, the Ynet news website reported.

The decision comes after the May 23 funeral for East Jerusalem attacker Alaa Abu Jamal in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood descended into protests and clashes with police, despite pledges by terrorists’ families to hold private, subdued burials that would not include calls for further attacks.

According to the new decision, which was backed by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the police will determine the location of the funeral, thereby guaranteeing the security forces total control over attendees and events at the burials.

Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan attends a meeting of the Knesset Internal Affairs committee, February 9, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan attends a meeting of the Knesset Internal Affairs committee, February 9, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Following the announcement, a lawyer, Muhammad Mahmoud, petitioned the High Court on behalf of the families of two terrorists whose bodies have not yet been returned by Israel. One of the bodies is that of Baha Alyan from Jabel Mukaber, who in October killed three people in a shooting and stabbing attack on a bus in Jerusalem. According to Ynet, Alyan has become a Palestinian symbol, and his father lectures in various forums, including educational institutions, about his son’s “legacy.”

“We must not permit manifestations of incitement and terrorism on the streets of Jerusalem, and a family that cannot meet the conditions set by the police should not receive the body for burial,” Erdan said Wednesday, according to Ynet.

The original decision to hand over bodies came after a months-long campaign by the terrorists’ families, including through appeals to the High Court of Justice. Police said they feared the funerals for the deceased attackers, who were killed as they stabbed, shot or rammed Israelis with cars over the past eight months, would turn into mass rallies in support of further terror attacks.

Police agreed to release the bodies following the promise by the families to carry out low-key services that did not incite to violence.

Israeli Border Police guard the entrance to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, on October 15, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli Border Police guard the entrance to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, on October 15, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Erdan intervened a day after Ynet aired footage of Abu Jamal’s funeral, which showed a crowd of some 200 residents demonstrating outside the cemetery with cries of “Allahu akbar” (God is great) 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 funeral.

“I have just seen the outrageous images from the funeral,” Erdan wrote on Facebook after the burial, “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.”

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed