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Israeli forces detain father of slain Palestinian whose body is still being withheld

June 27, 2016 1:42 P.M. (Updated: June 29, 2016 10:38 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces raided the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem in the predawn hours on Monday and detained lawyer and activist Muhammad Elayyan, whose son Bahaa was shot dead by Israeli forces in October while allegedly carrying out a stabbing and shooting attack, locals told Ma’an.

Bahaa was killed alongside another Palestinian after they attacked an Israeli bus with on Oct. 13, killing three Israelis with knives and a gun. His body, along with the bodies of at least seven other Palestinians killed while allegedly committing or attempting to commit attacks on Israeli targets, are still being held by Israel.

Muhammad Elayyan has spearheaded a movement by the families of slain Palestinians demanding that Israeli authorities return the bodies, staging protests, most recently held on Sunday in Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank.

He was present at demonstration last week at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem and outside of Israel’s Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine in Jaffa, where the bodies are being stored.

The Israeli Supreme Court ordered on May 5 the release of the bodies of Palestinians from Jerusalem currently being withheld by Israel, after family members appealed the court, but only one has been released since.

The Elayyan family home was first raided a week after the attack, and Israeli authorities issued a demolition order against the house in November as punishment.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expedited punitive home demolitions the day after Bahaa Elayyan carried out the attack. The move came despite past recommendations by an Israeli military committee that the practice did not deter future attacks.

Israeli courts reportedly later ruled against the punitive demolition targeting the Elayyan family, however they said in December that Israeli forces issued another demolition order under the pretext of not having obtained a building permit. The building houses 25 people on three floors.

The family told Ma'an at the time that using permit laws to order the demolition of the home was just a way to get around the court ruling against the punitive demolition.

Muhammad Elayyan has since been outspoken against the series of punitive measures carried out against his family and Israel’s policies of punitive action against all families of individuals who have been suspected of carrying out attacks.

He previously told Ma’an that the family had been targeted by punitive demolitions before, when in the 1970s Israeli forces sealed off his father’s home on charges of “resisting the occupation.”

Numerous rights groups have highlighted that Israel's punitive policies against Palestinians, such as home demolitions, sealing off the hometowns of attackers by military closures, withholding slain Palestinian bodies, and revoking work permits, constitutes a form of collective punishment, and represent a clear violation of international law.
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