High Court petition: Do not release arch-terrorist’s body

Tuesday, December 20, 2022, 16:23 The families of Binyamin and Talia Kahane, Hy”d, who were murdered by Nasser Naji Abu-Hamid in 2000, petitioned the High Court of Justice in a demand to prevent the transfer of the terrorist’s body to his family. Abu-Hamid died this morning in prison, and the families of his victims are demanding that the State of Israel hold his body as part of the war on terror.

Honenu Attorney Ophir Steiner, who filed the urgent petition against Defense Minister Benny Gantz on behalf of the families, wrote that the terrorist’s funeral would be liable to turn into an event encouraging terror that would endanger Israeli citizens: “The terrorist’s family is waging an international media campaign in which they are complaining about the medical care provided to the terrorist and the treatment he received from the prison and security authorities of the State of Israel. There is a concern that the respondents are liable to immediately decide to return the body [to the terrorist’s family] without conducting a thorough examination of all of the ramifications and even without giving sufficient emphasis to the positions of the bereaved families. Therefore, we demand that a temporary injunction be issued before a response is received from the respondents that will be in effect until a decision is made on the request for an interim order.”

In the petition, Honenu Attorneys Steiner and Bleicher explained that holding the terrorist’s body could serve as a bargaining chip against terror organizations: “There is great public interest in holding the body of such a senior terrorist, not only to prevent him from turning into a ‘holy martyr’ at a showcase funeral, but also because of the weight that will be given to his return in future deals with terror organizations to return our sons [referring to Jews and the bodies of IDF soldiers currently held by terror organizations]. In situations such as this, there is international public interest, and therefore there is a concern that considerations of public security, deterrence, the suffering of bereaved families, and future captive deals will all be rejected because of the desire to act hastily in a sort of humanitarian gesture that ‘photographs well’ in the international arena. Therefore, there is much urgency in holding a hearing on the petition about the body, in order to allow a thorough hearing in which the proper weight will be given to the aforementioned considerations, for transferring the body for temporary burial as is appropriate.”

The attorneys also claimed that holding a funeral for the terrorist would be a life-threatening event liable to increase terror against Israeli citizens: “It is well known that funerals of terrorists serve as a means for a show of power and inflaming a mob. The bodies are held high, to the calls of incitement from the crowd. Flags of terror organizations are waved, and senior members of the organizations give speeches. This is all in front of hundreds of youths who hear about the terrorist being a sort of ‘martyr’ who merited the honor because of his acts. A funeral of a terrorist of this magnitude constitutes a genuinely life-threatening event. The funeral is expected to be held as the funeral of a senior member, one that will draw the organizations to grant him royal honor and many thousands to participate. There is no doubt that an event such as this will inflame the youths until some of them [are incensed] and try to find an opportunity to follow the path of the ‘martyr’ who in their eyes resembles someone who fell on his sword in the war for their people. We demand that the honorable court turn the conditional order into a definite order while determining that the body of a terrorist must not be returned to his family and that he must be buried in a temporary burial within the borders of the State of Israel.”

The petition concluded with a mention of the display of Hadar Goldin’s weapon by the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar last week: “We stand before a murderous, blood-thirsty organization that has made cynical use of the body of a young soldier and the weapon that was taken from him after his murder. It is important for us to maintain the ability to come to the negotiating table with bodies that have value, without presenting their possessions for show or using them for any cynical use. Nevertheless, one must not face an organization such as this with nothing.”

Honenu Attorney Ophir Steiner also sent a letter to outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz on behalf of the Kahane and Rejwan families, demanding that he order that the body of Abu-Hamid not be released for burial.

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