Smotrich calls for the bodies of 1948 Palestinians to be dragged into the streets

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Maariv newspaper revealed on Monday evening that Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for the bodies of Palestinians to be removed from within the Green Line, to serve as an example to those who think about carrying out attacks against what he described as the Jewish population, he said.

This came during a stormy session held by the Political and Security Ministerial Council (cabinet) on Sunday, to discuss the issue of handing over the bodies of 1948 Palestinians, who were accused of carrying out attacks against Israel, according to the newspaper.

The hearing came based on a request submitted by Walid Abu Daqqa’s family to the Supreme Court to release his body, which is being held by Israel.

Abu Daqqa (62 years old) died last April, inside his prison in Israel after a struggle with cancer. He was serving a 38-year prison sentence, after he was accused of participating with an armed group that kidnapped and killed an Israeli soldier in 1984.

Smotrich added during the session, “We must put the bodies in a cart and drag them to the city center, as they did in the Torah to set an example for others.”

During the session, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant said that the Defense Minister’s authority is to approve the return of the bodies of militants.

He added that the issue of the bodies of what he described as “Israeli terrorists” – referring to Palestinian 48 – was raised and that he decided to keep the body of Walid Abu Daqqa and release the bodies of 5 others.

The Israeli Defense Minister added that National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir decided to ignore him and gave an order to the police not to comply with the decision.

According to the Israeli newspaper, Ben Gvir – who is the head of the extremist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Greatness) party – responded to Gallant, claiming that “this is a democratic state,” and added that he believes that releasing the bodies of what he called “Israeli terrorists” is a violation of the law, and harms Israel’s ability. To release them in exchange for detainees or the bodies of detainees, in reference to Israeli prisoners held by the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip.

He added, “I do not understand what is the reason for the rush to release the bodies. We have to continue detaining them.”

In turn, Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin (from the Likud Party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) said that he did not understand why there was suddenly a right to release bodies? “Where is that determined? It is forbidden to release any body of an Israeli Arab.”

For her part, Transportation Minister Miri Regev asked, “How come we have female and male detainees (in Gaza) and will we release them?” Let us wait for a deal to be reached to exchange prisoners.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intervened by saying, “There is no escape, there is no need to release the bodies of Israeli terrorists now.”

Gallant responded angrily to the ministers, “Then I give up my authority to make decisions. Decide what you want.”

Netanyahu concluded by saying that “it has been decided that the bodies of Israeli Arabs will not be released until a different decision is made,” according to the same source.

The cabinet session on handing over the bodies of Palestinians within the Green Line coincides with the continued mediation efforts of Egypt, Qatar, and the United States to conclude a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas, and a ceasefire in Gaza.

Since October 7, 2023, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza that has left more than 121,000 Palestinians dead or wounded, most of them children and women, and about 10,000 missing amid massive destruction and famine that claimed the lives of children and the elderly.

Source : Israeli press + Anatolia Agency