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Israel passes laws allowing terrorists’ bodies withheld, residency to be revoked

Palestinians wait to enter Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem through the Qalandia checkpoint from the northern West Bank to attend the first Friday prayers of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa mosque on June 2, 2017
ABBAS MOMANI (AFP)

Israel’s parliament passed two separate laws on Wednesday which enable police to withhold the bodies of Palestinian assailants killed while carrying out terror attacks and granting the state authority to revoke the permanent residency status of east Jerusalem Palestinians who engage in terror or other anti-Israel acts.

Both laws were passed in response to High Court rulings against the practices, which were frozen to allow for passing appropriate legislation that would empower the state on the issues.

The first law, allowing states to delay returning the bodies of killed Palestinian assailants to their families for burial, was passed with a 48-10 vote in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament).

The legislation was advanced in response to a December 2017 ruling by the High Court of Justice that the state could no longer use the bodies of terrorists as bargaining chips without a law that explicitly permits the practice.

SAID KHATIB (AFP)

The law specifies that district police can decide to delay returning a terrorists body for burial if there is concern that the funeral could provide a platform for praising terrorism or inciting further attacks.

Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that the practice of withholding terrorists bodies was necessary, even if undesirable by the state.

“The government doesn’t want to hold on to these bodies. As far as we are concerned the bodies of these cursed terrorists will rot. We have no need for them,” he said.

Ahmad GHARABLI (AFP)

The second law passed Wednesday grants the Interior Ministry authority to revoke the permanent residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians in three cases: If the status was granted under false pretenses; if the resident endangered public safety or security; or if the resident betrays the State of Israel.

The law was advanced after the High Court of Justice overturned the state’s decision to strip four East Jerusalem men of their residency status on grounds of disloyalty after they were elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council on a Hamas-affiliated ballot.

The High Court had ruled that the interior ministry did not have the authority to strip the four men of their residency status, but as in its ruling on withholding terrorist bodies, granted the state six months to draft a law that would empower the government to do so both retroactively and going forward.

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