Shortly after the Israeli military confirmed the plans, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced he is ordering a halt of the transfers of some 84 Palestinian corpses to the Palestinian Authority.
The military’s statement said the move to hand over the bodies, collected by the military over the past decades, was a “confidence” building measure with the Palestinians. Barak insisted he was unwilling to hand over potential “bargaining chips.”
At particular issue were a pair of brothers whose corpses were held since their killing at the hands of Israeli soldiers in 1998. Barak insisted that the bodies were vital in securing the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier currently being held by Hamas.
Barak did not indicate if his halt on the transfer of the bodies was permanent or not, saying it would require him to weigh the repercussions of the transfer on the oft-stalled Shalit talks.
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