Refusing to return the bodies of slain terrorists to their families is not a deterrent against terror, Defense Minister Moshe Ya`alon said Wednesday during a Knesset hearing on the topic.

”Holding onto bodies is in itself not a deterrent to potential terrorists, as opposed to the demolition of houses or revocation of residency which are proven dissuasive measures,” he argued.

”We decided to make the decision on a case-by-case basis, where the main consideration is if there`ll be a massive funeral, which is why the decision was made to return bodies on the condition funerals are quiet and modest, and this was the case until the funeral in Hebron, during which there was incitement,” Ya`alon told the plenum, adding that ”this policy is consistent and prudent, and takes into account moral and security considerations.”

MK Oded Forer, a member of Yisrael Beitenu, said that such policies were one of the main reasons his party refused to join ”this so-called right-wing government”.

”Which government should we join?” he posed. ”The one that on the first day announces it is not returning the bodies of terrorists and on the second returns them quietly? Stop talking strong and acting weak.”

MK Talab Abu Arar of the Joint Arab List said holding onto bodies was ”immoral and inhuman,” adding that ”as usual, every immoral act is accompanied by a security-related explanation, but was is the explanation for this act?”

MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Camp) said ”you wage a continuous campaign of security, but as soon as the projectors dim you return bodies. You are a walking theater.”

MK Oren Hazan also criticized Minister Ya`alon, a fellow Likud party member, for the ”scattered decisions” that come out of the Security Cabinet, wherewith ”the right hand says we will not return and the left hand returns.”

”The time has come to make courageous decisions and implement them as well,” Hazan added. ”I entreat the Minister to wise up for a moment and listen to the distress of the people.”