Israel will turn over to the Palestinian Authority the bodies of more than 90 terrorists, according to Israeli and Palestinian news media.
The handover is scheduled to take place on Thursday. An additional about 40 bodies will be turned over at a later date, according to the Ma’an Palestinian news service.
Included among the bodies to be turned over to the Palestinians is Ramez Aslim, the suicide bomber who attacked the central Jerusalem Café Hillel in 2003. Dual Israeli-American citizens Dr. David Applebaum, head of the emergency room at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and his daughter Nava, who was to have been married the day after the bombing, were killed in that attack.
The repatriation of the bodies is being called a goodwill gesture to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. It was reportedly agreed to during a meeting in Ramallah earlier this month between Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal envoy, Isaac Molcho.
The Almagor terror victims association on Wednesday criticized the government for the handover of bodies.
“The Netanyahu-Barak-Mofaz government is giving a boost to terror and abusing the bereaved families and the injured. This is a government without a heart and without a brain,” said Meir Indor, chairman of the association.
An official ceremony to honor the terrorists will be held in the presidential compound in Ramallah on Thursday, Palestinian Authority civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh told Ma’an.