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National security adviser: Israeli cabinet never approved list of Palestinian bodies for transfer

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The Israeli government’s blunder over the transfer of Palestinian bodies led the prime minister’s office on Tuesday to send its national security adviser, Major General (res.) Yaakov Amidror for a round of radio interviews, where he denied that Hamas member bodies are among the list.
Amidror said Netanyahu’s decision on the transfer was made in principal only, and the identities of the bodies were never brought to his attention. Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced there will be an investigation of the decision making process in this particular matter.
Amidror’s statements raised some questions, especially since IDF officers confirmed Monday that this was the PM’s decision and that the Shin Bet security service and Central Command have already approved the list of names. "The decision was made in principal without including names," Amidror repeated. "The Palestinians publicized the names. That is what they would like to have, not what we have agreed to give. No names or numbers came up. At no point was a transfer list approved."
Barak ordered to stop the transfer of the bodies of 84 Palestinian terrorists to the Palestinian Authority at the last minute on Monday, despite earlier confirmation from the IDF Spokesperson’s Office that the transfer would go through.
Barak made his decision to hold off on the transfer after a Haaretz report revealed that two of the bodies to be returned to the PA were the Awadallah brothers, former leaders of the Hamas military wing, who were killed by Israeli soldiers near Hebron in September 1998. The defense minister explained his decision, saying it was important to weigh the repercussions of such a transfer on a future Shalit deal.
Earlier Tuesday, senior ministers and members of the cabinet complained were not updated on the government’s decision to transfer of the bodies. A senior cabinet member said the issue was agreed upon between Netanyahu and Barak without discussing it in "the forum of seven" (the government’s top seven ministers) and in the cabinet. "The Palestinians are going to the UN and we are making concessions to them without thinking and without any discussions," said the senior minister.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Tuesday he is unequivocally opposed to returning bodies of terrorists. "Does it make sense to make this gesture while (abducted IDF soldier) Gilad Shalit receives none?" he said. "We ought to keep anything that may shorten Gilad’s imprisonment even by one minute."
Gilad’s father, Noam Shalit, said on Army Radio he "is not surprised" by the plan to transfer the bodies. "The Israeli government is doing a lot for Hamas," he said, adding he does not think Israel should "trade in bodies." "Israel has failed… to apply pressure on Hamas. I don’t think bodies are the way to do so."

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