Home Cabinet 27/August/2022 03:36 PM

Premier calls for immediate handover of Israeli-withheld bodies of slain Palestinians

RAMALLAH, Saturday, August 27, 2022 (WAFA) – Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called today for the immediate handover by Israeli occupation authorities of the bodies of scores of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces over the past years.

In a press statement on the occasion of the National Day for Retrieval of the Bodies of Palestinian Martyrs, the Prime Minister urged all international human rights organizations to pressure Israel to immediately hand over the withheld bodies of the Palestinian martyrs for proper burial by their families.

“The Israeli occupation’s withholding of the bodies of martyrs is a war crime that is accountable under international law and international humanitarian law,” said Shtayyeh.

Meanwhile, activists held a vigil at Ibn Rush Square in the city of Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank, demanding the Israeli occupation authorities to hand over the bodies of nearly 103 slain Palestinians held in Israeli mortuaries and 256 others buried in Israeli number cemeteries.

The vigil was called for by the National Campaign for Retrieval of the Bodies of Palestinian Martyrs, and participants waved banners calling upon human rights organizations to intervene and press the occupation authorities to hand over the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces.

Israel has long been criticized by human rights advocates for its policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians killed by its forces during alleged attacks on Israelis.

Documents by Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre (JALIC) show that there are more than 256 bodies in the cemeteries of numbers, named after a numbering system that replaces names on graves.

Israel's policy of indefinitely holding the bodies of Palestinians as bargaining chips brings enormous harm and pain to bereaved families seeking a final look at their loved ones before giving them a dignified burial.

International law considers the practice a violation of human rights. The Geneva Conventions state that the parties of an armed conflict must bury the deceased in an honorable way, and “if possible according to the rites of the religion to which they belonged and that their graves are respected, properly maintained, and marked in such a way that they can always be recognized”.


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