Saturday, Oct. 20
Latest News
  1. 130 Palestinians injured during Gaza protests
  2. Israeli forces carry out raids across West Bank, clashes erupt
  3. Israeli naval forces detain 2 Palestinian fishermen
  4. Injuries reported during 30th 'Great March of Return' protest in Gaza
  5. Amnesty alarmed as Israel adopts 'zero tolerance' policy against Gaza
  6. 122 days of demolition threats, Israel seals off Khan al-Ahmar
  7. BDS victory: Supreme Court allows American student entry to Israel
  8. Erekat: 'Trump administration part of the problem, not the solution'
  9. US to merge Jerusalem consulate with its new embassy
  10. Ashrawi: UNGA vote 'significant political move'

Families of slain Palestinians still held by Israel protest outside mortuary in Jaffa

June 21, 2016 10:58 P.M. (Updated: June 24, 2016 9:48 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Family members of slain Palestinians whose bodies are still held by Israeli authorities protested on Tuesday outside of Israel’s Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine in Jaffa, where the bodies are being stored, as they called Israel’s policy of withholding Palestinian bodies “a crime of torture for the dead and the living.”

As parents held up signs emblazoned with the names of their children and the dates they were killed, the slain bodies, only a few meters away, lay inside locked refrigerators in Israel’s mortuary, withheld from their families since the day they were killed by Israeli forces.

Ma’an reporters witnessed demonstrators clutching signs that read “no to collective punishment” and “we want our children,” as others raised a white sheet etched with the names of all Palestinian bodies currently being held by Israel.

The family members who attended the demonstration were mostly Palestinians with Israeli citizenship or East Jerusalem residency.

The head of the Palestinian follow-up committee in Israel, Muhammad Baraka, in addition to several Palestinian members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, took part in the demonstration.

“The policy of holding the bodies of killed Palestinians aims to take revenge on the martyr and his family and to break the will of [Palestinian] families,” Baraka told the crowd of demonstrators. 

The father of Bahaa Elayyan, a Palestinian shot dead during an alleged attack in October, also spoke at the protest: “Today we are standing near our martyred children and taking part in this sit-in, confirming [to the world] that we are one nation and that we were not divided by Israel.”

Elayyan's father said that months had passed since the families' children were killed, without any information provided from medical, journalistic, or police reports that could confirm the narrative that was given to them by Israeli authorities following the killing of their children.

He demanded that international rights organizations intervene in the situation and reveal to them the conditions of the bodies in order for them to know the truth of what happened to their children, adding that the end of Israel’s policy of withholding slain Palestinian bodies represented a “national fight.”

“This is a crime of torture for the dead and the living. It is a war crime,” the bereaved father added.

Israeli authorities dramatically escalated a policy of withholding Palestinian bodies killed by Israeli forces since a wave of unrest erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October, having repeatedly claimed that funerals of Palestinians had provided grounds for “incitement” against the Israeli state.

However, following an uproar of protest among Palestinians over the policy, Israeli authorities began rescinding the practice.

Following an attack in Tel Aviv earlier this month, newly appointed Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued an order to suspend the return of slain Palestinian bodies, claiming it had sent the “wrong message” to Palestinians, and that halting their return could prevent future attacks against Israelis.

Despite this, however, Israeli authorities agreed to return several Palestinian bodies to their families within the same week of Lieberman’s order, although an exact date for their return has yet to be confirmed.

When Israeli authorities have decided to return slain bodies and allow funerals in the occupied Palestinian territory, the ceremonies have been typically restricted by a long list of conditions imposed by Israeli authorities, including limiting the number of attendees and the deployment of Israeli soldiers throughout the event.

Palestinian families have also been forced to pay large financial deposits to the Israeli government as a collateral for potential “incitement” during the funerals and to ensure that families abide by Israeli-imposed conditions.

Israeli police announced this month that slain Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem suspected of “terrorism” would no longer be able to have funerals in their neighborhoods or villages, but would instead be buried in cemeteries chosen by the Israeli police.

Israeli authorities continue to hold at least a dozen Palestinian bodies in refrigerated conditions in Israel -- some of which have been held since October -- despite the Israeli Supreme Court ordering the release of all Jerusalemite Palestinian bodies withheld by Israel before the start of Ramadan.

A joint statement released by Addameer and Israeli minority rights group Adalah in March condemned Israel’s practice of withholding bodies as "a severe violation of international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law, including violations of the right to dignity, freedom of religion, and the right to practice culture."

The statement said it appeared "many" of the Palestinians whose bodies Israel was holding had been "extrajudicially executed by Israeli forces during alleged attacks against Israelis, despite posing no danger."

Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015