Supreme Court hears petition seeking release of body of Arab-Israeli terror convict

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

An undated image of Palestinian security prisoner Walid Daqqa (Courtesy)
An undated image of Palestinian security prisoner Walid Daqqa (Courtesy)

The Supreme Court hears a petition calling for the IDF to release the body of Palestinian terror convict Walid Daqqa, who died in April.

The petition, filed by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, on behalf of Daqqa’s family, seeks a reversal of the decision to hold onto Daqqa’s body to serve as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Hamas.

On Tuesday, the government informed the Supreme Court that the security cabinet ratified Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s decision to withhold Daqqa’s body for future negotiations with Hamas. In its notification, the government noted that the decision was exceptional, since the bodies of Israeli citizens are not normally held for prisoner exchange deals.

The government claimed that the decision was “proportionate and reasonable” given the current circumstances, i.e., the war with Hamas and the months of negotiations to free Israeli hostages by the terror group in Gaza.

Following today’s hearing, the court may issue a provisional order demanding that the government provide further reasoning for its decision.

Daqqa, an Israeli citizen from the central Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiya, died of cancer in prison on April 7 at age 62, after 38 years behind bars. He had been sentenced to life behind bars for being part of a terror cell responsible for the abduction and killing of Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984.

Adalah claims in a statement that the Israeli cabinet has decided to hold all bodies of Arab citizens of Israel accused of terror attacks until a decision is made by the government on its overarching policy on the matter.

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