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16-year-old slain Palestinian laid to rest after being held by Israel for over 2 months

Feb. 2, 2017 5:51 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 5, 2017 6:35 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Palestinians in the village of Bir Nabala northwest of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank set off on Thursday for the funeral procession of 16-year-old slain Palestinian Muhammad Zeidan, whose body had been returned to his family late Wednesday night after being held by Israeli authorities for over two months.

Zeidan, 16, was shot and killed by an Israeli security guard on Nov. 25 after allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack near the Shufat checkpoint in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank.

The funeral march set off from the Ramallah governmental hospital and headed to Bir Nabala, where locals performed funeral prayers and carried Zeidan’s body on their shoulders to his final destination in the village’s cemetery, where he was laid to rest.

Zeidan’s father, Nabil Zeidan, claimed that the teenager was on his way to the hospital to receive medical care for his kidney failure when he was shot and killed.

He added that “executing” his son at such a young age and holding his dead body “indicated Israeli army’s criminal mentality.”

Zeidan was one of 112 Palestinians to have been killed in 2016 as part of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Fifteen Israelis died during the same time period.

Rights groups have repeatedly denounced what they have termed Israeli forces' "shoot-to-kill" policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner.

Amid the increase in violence since October 2015, Israeli authorities dramatically escalated a policy of withholding Palestinian bodies killed by Israeli forces, claiming that funerals of Palestinians had provided grounds for “incitement” against the Israeli state.

However, the majority of bodies of Palestinians slain by Israeli forces have since been returned to their families, despite the Israeli security cabinet deciding in January that bodies of Palestinians affiliated with the Hamas movement who were killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis would be withheld indefinitely.

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."

PLO official Saeb Erekat has also urged the international community to pressure Israel to release Palestinian bodies held by Israeli, saying: "Israel's collective punishments are now being carried out against the living and the dead."

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