Smotrich says dead Palestinians should be publicly paraded

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said at a cabinet meeting on June 9th that the bodies of Palestinians should be “put in carts and dragged through the streets” to serve as a lesson for those planning to “carry out operations against Israeli targets,” The New Arab reported. 

Israel’s Maariv newspaper reported on June 10th that the meeting followed the submission of a petition to Israel’s Supreme Court by the family of Walid Daqqa — who had been imprisoned in 1986 and succumbed to spinal cancer in 2022 — demanding his body be returned to his family. 

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant — for whom International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor is trying to secure an arrest warrant — said “the power to approve the return of the bodies of terrorists” was in his portfolio and that he decided for “Walid Daqqa’s body to be kept and for five other bodies to be released.” “However, [Israeli National Security Minister Itamar] Ben Gvir decided to ignore me and order the police not to [carry out the order],” he added. 

Ben Gvir replied, “This is a democratic state. I believe releasing the bodies of Israeli terrorists shows negligence. It also undermines the possibility [of releasing] them in exchange for hostages or the bodies of hostages. I don’t understand what is the motive for the panic and rush to release them. The bodies must be kept.”

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A number of ministers backed Ben Gvir, including Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Transport Minister Miri Regev. Then Smotrich said, “We should put the bodies in a cart and drag them through the centre of the city, like they did in the Torah, to serve as a lesson for others.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concluded, “It was decided not to release the bodies of Israeli Arabs, until a different decision is taken.”

On June 10th, Smotrich ordered Israel’s tax authority to deduct 130 million shekels from tax funds collected for the PA to be instead transferred to 28 Israeli families “impacted by terrorism” and Palestinian informants for Israel. The amounts will be transferred in the coming days.

In light of growing pressure for Israel to demand the return of its hostages, the country’s army carried out its largest rescue operation yet, leaving approximately 210 Palestinians dead. Four hostages were successfully returned from Gaza. 

The New Arab and agencies

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