The world Scout movement said Thursday it was investigating claims its Palestinian branch held an event in support of a terrorist who murdered three Israelis in a Jerusalem bus attack last October.
A Palestinian Scout troop in East Jerusalem is alleged to have held a training course dedicated to Bahaa Allyan, who along with another man shot and stabbed passengers on the bus. Allyan was killed by security forces.
“We are definitely investigating and we hope to respond as soon as possible,” Srinath Venugopal, executive director at the World Scout Bureau’s office of the secretary general, told AFP.
“Due to the nature of the issue it takes a little time to establish the facts. Please be assured that the World Organization of the Scout Movement is not supportive of any terrorist activities.”
He said it was too early to speculate on potential punishments, though the family of one of the victims has called for the Palestinian Scout Association to be expelled.
Micah Lakin Avni, whose 76-year-old father Richard Lakin died after being shot and then stabbed on the bus, said he was calling for the “complete removal” of the Palestinian branch from the wider Scouts movement.
“I am outraged,” he told AFP. “To name a program after a coldblooded murderer is outrageous. The Scouts are a program all around the world teaching millions of people how to be good citizens and how to treat people with respect,” he said.
“This was not an isolated incident or a single leader, it is something that was decided by the leadership.”
A spokesperson for the Palestinian Scout Association said they did not yet have a formal response.
Allyan’s body was returned by Israel overnight Thursday after being held for 10 months, family members confirmed.
There were over 33,000 registered members of the Palestinian Scout Association, according to the World Scout Bureau’s 2014 census.
It was only given full voting rights in February.
There are 163 national Scout organizations in more than 220 countries and territories across the world, including Israel.