Knesset works to shut down terrorist funerals used for incitement

The Knesset is promoting a bill to limit the return of terrorists’ bodies in cases in which funerals would be used used to incite further terror attacks. 

By: World Israel News Staff

The Knesset plenum passed in its first reading a bill that will grant a police district commander authority to set conditions for returning the body of a terrorist for family burial, if the commander determines that there is reason to fear that as a result of the funeral a terror attack might be committed or lives might be at risk, or the funeral will be used as a platform to incite further terror attacks.

Conditions could limit the size, location, timing, and attendance of the burial ceremony, and a body could be held until the family agrees to the terms.

The bill passed its first reading on Monday  by a vote of 57 to 11. It will now be transferred to the House Committee for further deliberation.

Palestinian funerals for terrorists killed while committing attacks often become a demonstration of force, during which the terrorists and terrorism are praised, and further acts of violence are encouraged.

The practice of limiting the scope of terrorist funerals has been sporadically implemented, but the bill would sanction the practice by law.

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The preamble to the bill, an amendment to the Counter-Terrorism Law, states that “the recent wave of terror in October 2015 was characterized by terror attacks that were committed by terrorists who were influenced by incitement, among other things, and this led to a renewed debate on the issue of holding the bodies of terrorists.”

“As part of the effort to deal with severe disturbances which occur during the funerals of those who are killed in connection with committing a terror attack or with an attempt (to carry out a terror attack), Israel Police set conditions (for funerals) which are meant to ensure the public’s safety and security and prevent acts of terror during a funeral (or shortly after it),” the bill says.

The bill further mentions that following the terror attack on the Temple Mount in July 2017, in which two police officers were killed, an appeal was filed with the High Court of Justice regarding the return of the terrorists’ bodies to their families. In the appeal, Israel Police explained that the return of the bodies should be delayed until the danger to the public’s safety is minimized.

The High Court ruled that the state could not hold the bodies because no specific law explicitly allows it to do so. The judges noted that to retain bodies, the Knesset must enact legislation conforming to the Israeli and international legal standards that specifically sanctions this strategy.

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While presenting the bill, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan mentioned that the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) and Israel Police just recently exposed another terror cell in Um el-Fahm which plotted a terrorist attack on the Temple Mount.

“This law is precisely meant to prevent such cells and murderers from [carrying out attacks] on behalf of a murderous extremist religious ideology,” he said.

”The High Court made a grave mistake. It mentioned human dignity in connection with the return of terrorists’ bodies. I don’t think a terrorist who murdered innocent people has a right to human dignity and liberty, and it certainly should not supersede the rights of the victims and the public’s right to be protected from funerals in which there is severe incitement, empathy and praise for the same despicable murderer,” he noted.