RAMALLAH, Saturday, June 10, 2023 (WAFA) – Scores of Palestinians marched today in downtown Ramallah, in the center of the West Bank, demanding the Israeli occupation authorities to hand over the withheld bodies of dozens of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past few years.
The march was called for by the families of Palestinian martyrs whose bodies are withheld by the occupation authorities. During the march, protesters chanted slogans and waved banners demanding the immediate handover of the martyrs whose bodies are either buried in Israeli number cemeteries or kept in mortuaries.
Israeli occupation authorities have escalated the practice of withholding the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, claiming that funerals of Palestinians had provided grounds for incitement.
According to rights groups, the bodies of at least 132 Palestinians, including 12 children, killed by Israeli forces since 2015 are currently withheld by the Israeli occupation authorities.
The Geneva Conventions of 1949 recognize 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”.
In 2017, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the state has no legal basis to withhold bodies, but reversed course in 2019 and upheld the government’s policy to withhold bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation troops.
According to Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, a Haifa-based NGO, Israel is the only country in the world that has a policy of confiscation of human remains, where it relies on regulations dating back to 1945 (during the British Mandate) as grounds for its policy.