Israel’s Security Cabinet: Bodies of Hamas terrorists will not be returned

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Security Cabinet decided that the bodies of Hamas terrorists killed during attacks on Israelis will not be returned to their families and will instead be buried.

The Cabinet met on Sunday. Its discussion focused on bringing about the release of Israeli civilians and the bodies of Israeli soldiers held by Hamas in Gaza.

“The political-security cabinet discussed standing policy on treatment of the bodies of Hamas terrorists killed during terror attacks and decided that they will not be returned, but will be buried,” read a statement issued Sunday evening by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The decision came after Hamas on Saturday released a video showing what it called a birthday party for Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, who was killed during the 2014 Gaza war and whose body is held by Hamas in Gaza. Hamas also is believed to be holding the body of Lt. Hadar Goldin, also killed during the 2014 conflict as well as  Israeli civilians Avraham Mengistu and Juma Ibrahim Abu Anima, who crossed into Gaza on their own.


The Goldin family in a letter released on Sunday before the meeting said the government had not done enough to bring home their son’s body, criticizing the government for returning terrorists’ bodies and sending goods to Gaza, Ynet reported.

“The state is allowing the massive entry of goods into Gaza that no government has done in the past. While the state is creating water desalination factories in Gaza, the State of Israel doesn’t even demand to receive information about Hadar and Oron and isn’t conducting negotiations for their return, ” the letter said, according to Ynet. “Anyone in the Israeli government who thinks this is a humanitarian issue must know that so is bringing bodies back to be buried. It is also a religious issue.”

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