Israeli police get right to hold Palestinian assailants’ bodies

Israeli border police can be seen in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 08 March 2018

Israeli police get right to hold Palestinian assailants’ bodies

JERUSALEM: Israeli lawmakers have passed a controversial bill allowing police to hold the corpses of alleged Palestinian assailants indefinitely, parliament said on Thursday.
The act was passed late Wednesday by 48 votes to 10, a Knesset statement said, hours after another measure permitting the interior minister to strip Palestinians in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem of their permanent residency permits “if they are involved in terrorism.”
The government announced in 2016 that it would not release for burial the bodies of Palestinian assailants killed during attacks unless Palestinians in Gaza released the remains of two Israeli soldiers believed to have been killed in a 2014 war in Gaza.
In November 2017, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signalled that Israel would not repatriate the bodies of five militants killed when the army blew up a tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into its territory.
The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in December that the policy was illegal under current law, but it gave the government six months to enact new legislation.
The revised act gives authority to police district commanders “to set conditions for returning the body of a terrorist for family burial,” the Knesset statement said.
If the commander decides that a funeral may spark another attack or turn into a political rally in support of violence he can impose limits on the time, location and number of mourners and “a body could be held until the family agrees to the terms,” the statement adds.
The bill was sponsored by two MPs from Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and the religious-nationalist Jewish Home.
Arab MP Yousef Jabareen, of the opposition Joint List party, said it was “a delusional and draconian law of a delusional government.”
It applies only to Israel and east Jerusalem, where the police have authority, and not to the occupied West Bank, which is under army rule.
The legislation on revoking permanent residency permits, proposed by a Likud MP, passed by 48 votes to 18, the Knesset said.
Israel seized control of Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.
It later annexed the territory, in a move never recognized by the international community, and today it is home to about 300,000 Palestinians.
Although they have the right to apply for Israeli citizenship few take up the offer and of those many are refused, often on unspecified “security grounds.”
The vast majority opt for permanent residency status, which gives them free movement throughout Israel, access to health and welfare services and a vote in Jerusalem municipal elections.
They cannot vote in parliamentary elections and they do not hold Israeli passports.

Mubarak to be buried in ‘small’ military funeral

Updated 1 min 56 sec ago

Mubarak to be buried in ‘small’ military funeral

  • The event will be low key because of Mubarak's conviction for embezzling state funds, source tells Arab News
  • Unclear whether President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will attend

CAIRO: Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak will be buried in a small military funeral, a source told Arab News.

The event will be low key because of his conviction, along with his two sons, on corruption charges, the source said.

Normally, a military funeral would not be held for anyone with a criminal record.

The source was unable to confirm whether President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, would attend the funeral or if any other Arab leaders would be there. It was also unclear when it would take place.

Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for three decades before he was toppled during the Arab Spring, died on Tuesday at the age of 91.

He had been in intensive care in a military hospital in Cairo for more than a month, after undergoing abdominal surgery.

Mubarak was cleared on appeal in 2014 of charges that he failed to prevent the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising against his rule. But the legal proceedings linked to the uprising would drag on for three more years.

In 2015, he was sentenced to three years in prison over the embezzlement of state money allocated for presidential palaces. His sons Alaa and Gamal were also jailed for their roles in the scandal.

On Saturday, a Cairo court acquitted the two brothers, along with seven others, of stock market manipulation in 2007 during the sale of a bank.

Mubarak became the fourth president of Egypt in October 1981, taking over after Anwar Sadat was assassinated by extremists.

He stood down on Feb. 11, 2011 after 18 days of mass protests and handed power to Egypt’s military.

Born in the village of Menufiyah in the Nile Delta, Mubarak graduated from the air force academy in 1950, and became air force chief of staff in 1972.

In 1975, Sadat chose him as vice president, and after Sadat’s death, Mubarak assumed the presidency after a confirmation referendum. He renewed his term through similar referendums in the years 1987, 1993 and 1999.

He won a presidential election held in 2005 - the first held during his rule.

After his downfall, he was put on trial over the deaths of protesters and sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2012.

He finally walked free in 2017, when Egypt’s highest appeals court cleared him of conspiring to kill protesters. Most of his time in detention was spent at a military hospital.