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Israel legalises withholding bodies of dead Palestinians

Israel has long history of such a practice but the Knesset law aims to legalise the crime

Image Credit: AP
Relatives of Palestinian 59-year-old farmer, Muhammed Abu Jamaa, mourn over his body in the family house during his funeral in town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip.
Gulf News

Dubai: The Israeli Knesset passed a law on Wednesday allowing police to withhold the bodies of Palestinians killed while resisting injustice.

The law, which passed 48-10, came after the Israeli High Court of Justice in December ruled Israel could not longer use Palestinians’ bodies as bargaining chips without legislation explicitly permitting the practice.

The court gave the government six months to pass such a law.

Under the law, district police commanders can decide whether or not to release the bodies based on “if they feel the funeral could be used to carry out an attack or provide a platform for praising terrorism”, the law reads.

Israeli refers to Palestinians who carry out resistance attacks as “terrorists”.

“Terrorists funerals in recent years have featured praise of terrorism and incitment for further attacks,” the text continues.

Bodies of Palestinians are often withheld by Israeli authorities to punish the families of alleged Palestinian attackers.

Bodies that they bury themselves are often treated with gross negligence and disrespect.

The graves are usually no deeper than 50 centimetres.

Strong winds often uncover the corpse leaving it vulnerable to being eaten by wild animals.

Since the 1960s, Palestinians say Israel has withheld a least 500 bodies of martyrs.

Palestinian families often insist on DNA tests before accepting bodies because they do not trust Israeli authorities.

Last year, Israel admitted to losing the bodies of more than 100 Palestinian martyrs killed by the occupation forces during the Second Palestinian Intifada which took place between 2000-2004.

The admission came after a Palestinian committee tasked with getting the bodies back petitioned the Israeli High Court to investigate the matter.

After 17 years, the Israeli regime was finally forced to admit its gross negligence in dealing with bodies of Palestinian martyrs.