Videos posted on social media showed Arabs and Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria celebrating the return of 39 terrorists freed by Israel on Saturday night as part of a hostages-for-ceasefire deal with Hamas.
Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir had instructed police to employ “an iron fist” to prevent celebrations from taking place.
“My instructions are clear: There are to be no expressions of joy,” Ben-Gvir told Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai and Israel Prison Service Commissioner Katy Perry.
“Expressions of joy are equivalent to backing terrorism; victory celebrations give backing to those human scum, for those Nazis,” he added.
Many of the Palestinians released are affiliated with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The released Palestinians are being allowed to return to their previous residences.
Most notable of the freed Palestinians is would-be suicide bomber Israa Jaabis, who blew up a car with gas cylinders near Maale Adumim in 2015.
A police officer was injured in the attack. Jaabis made headlines in 2022 when her request for a nose job to repair damage from the blast was rejected by the Israeli Prisons Service as a cosmetic procedure not necessary for her health.
The Israeli Cabinet on Wednesday voted to approve a deal with Hamas to see 50 of the approximately 240 hostages held by the terrorist group in the Gaza Strip freed in exchange for a four-day truce. The release of every additional 10 hostages will result in one additional day in the pause in combat.
In addition to the ceasefire, Israel agreed to commute the sentences of 150 female and teenage Palestinian security prisoners held in Israeli jails.
In January, Ben-Gvir instructed Shabtai to open a probe into what he views as police failures that allowed public celebrations to be held for an Arab terrorist released from prison.
Karim Younis, an Arab Israeli jailed for murdering Israel Defense Forces Cpl. Avraham Bromberg in the Golan Heights in 1980, was freed from jail and received a hero’s welcome upon his return to the northern Israeli town of ‘Ara.
“[These] are celebrations of incitement and explicit support for terrorism, and it’s unacceptable for such events to happen in our home. The State of Israel has no place for [them],” said Ben-Gvir.
“I will do everything in my power to prevent these occurrences until a law is passed on implementing the death penalty for terrorists,” he added.
The same month, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant revoked the travel permits of three Palestinian Authority officials who participated in a celebration for the release of Younis, one of the longest-serving terror prisoners. The three had traveled to the Younis family’s home in ‘Ara, south of Haifa.
At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. Some people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify victims’ remains.