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Official: Israel to return bodies of Palestinians

May 14, 2012 8:05 P.M. (Updated: May 16, 2012 9:51 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel will return the bodies of 100 Palestinians to their families as part of a deal signed Monday with prisoners on hunger strike, an official said Monday.

Prisoners reached a deal with Israeli authorities on Monday to end a mass hunger strike.

Israel agreed to charge administrative detainees or release them at term-end, release prisoners from isolation cells and allow prisoners from Gaza to receive family visits, a Hamas official who helped negotiate the deal said.

Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Ma'an that Israel had also agreed to hand over the bodies of 100 Palestinians as a gesture to President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

Gendelman said the PA had played a key role in brokering the deal.

No date has been set for the return of the bodies, Gendelman added.

The official said that under the terms of the deal, prisoners must stop hunger-strikes, agree not to plan any attacks against Israel or recruit others to work against Israel.

If prisoners violate the agreement the deal will be canceled, he said.

Israel holds the bodies of hundreds of Palestinians in what it calls the "enemy fighters' cemetery," known to Palestinians as the "cemetery of numbers."
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