In reversal, Israel’s Supreme Court says it’s legal for army to hold bodies of Palestinian terrorists


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli military can hold the bodies of Palestinian terrorists to use as bargaining chips in future negotiations, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled.

The 4-3 decision announced Monday by an expanded seven-judge panel overturns a 2017 ruling by a three-justice Supreme Court panel that said holding the remains of terrorists was unconstitutional, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

The majority of the panel, including the high court’s president, Esther Hayut, said that temporarily withholding the bodies would fall under the heading of emergency defense measures. It also found that international law regarding armed conflict would allow such an action.

In the earlier ruling, the court  had called on the government to pass legislation complying with Israeli and international law that would give it the authority to hold terrorists’ remains.

The family of Lt. Hadar Goldin, an Israeli soldier whose body has been held by Hamas in Gaza since the Gaza War in 2014, has called on the government to hold Palestinian terrorists’ bodies until their son and the body of Sgt. Oron Shaul, captured in the same conflict, are returned.

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