Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has rejected handing over the bodies of Palestinian martyrs pending a new stricter policy on potential swap negotiations with Hamas movement.
According to Israel Hayom, Gantz intends to submit his revised policy to the security cabinet in the coming weeks.
He wants Israel to adopt stricter measures in handing over the bodies to Palestinian officials.
Earlier this month, the Defense Minister demanded the Israeli Army to accelerate the search for the buried bodies of Palestinian martyrs.
His orders came amid reports on ongoing talks between Israel and Hamas on exchanging captives through Egyptian mediation.
The Minister refuses to release a huge number of captives similar to a prisoner exchange in 2011 when Israel and Hamas agreed to swap more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Israeli captive soldier Gilad Shalit.
This stance was also reflected in the Ministry’s response to the Supreme Court of Israel regarding a petition submitted by Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) to hand over the body of Ahmad Erekat. The ministry’s response was that Gantz intends to change the current policy that is based on the cabinet decision made on Jan. 1, 2017.
The possible swap aims to guarantee the release of the two soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, whom Israel considers dead, in addition to two civilians held in the Gaza Strip. They are an Arab from the so-called Palestinians of 1948 and a Jewish man of Ethiopian origin.
Hamas, in return, has demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian captives, but Israel has made attempts to keep the number to a minimum and include the bodies of Palestinians in the swap deal.