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Arab League to Israel: Return bodies of Palestinians killed in action

Sept. 17, 2008 12:29 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 17, 2008 12:29 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Assistant secretary general of the Arab League and representative from Palestine Muhammad Subeih on Wednesday called on the international community to pressure Israel over its policy of holding corpses of killed Palestinians.

Israel refuses to hand over the bodies of Palestinians killed during infiltration attempts. The fighters are kept in so-called "enemy fighters cemeteries."

Subeih said in a report, submitted to Arab League Secretary General Amr Mousa and permanent representatives, that Israel is "the only country in the world to punish 'martyrs' after they are killed."

"Israeli policy is to torture Palestinians psychologically, which contradicts Article 17 of the First Geneva Convention, which reads: 'dead fighters must be buried according to their own religious traditions,'" according to the report.

Subeih also said that hundreds of Palestinian fighters are kept in Israeli cemeteries, and that family members are not permitted to access them. Burial plots are identified by a metal sign with a number.

Subeih applauded a national campaign to return the corpses of "martyrs." The campaign was launched by the Jerusalem Center for Legal Support and Human Rights, in partnership with Amin Information Network.

Subeih described the return of hundreds of corpses within the prisoners swap deal with Hizbullah as a sign of hope to families of Palestinians missing in action.
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