Israel Sets Conditions for Release of withheld Palestinian Bodies

JERUSALEM, January 3, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities on Sunday conditioned the release of the bodies of four Palestinians, who were fatally shot by Israeli troops during the ongoing unrest that began in early October 2015, with their families’ consent to bury them outside the boundaries of the apartheid wall.

Mohammad Mahmoud, an attorney with Addameer human rights group, said Israeli intelligence agreed to hand over the bodies of Isac Badran, 16, Mohammad Said Ali, 19, Hassan Manasrah, 16, and Ahmad Qunaibi, 22, if the families agree to their condition.

The bodies of the four, killed by Israeli troops during the past weeks, have been withheld by Israel as a punitive measure.

Mahmoud said Israeli intelligence demanded the bodies of both Manasrah and Ali to be buried in the village of Anata, east of Jerusalem, and to bury the bodies of Badran and Qunaibi in the nearby area of Kafr Aqab.

The occupation authorities also demanded the burial of the four bodies to take place at night; only few people partake in the funeral; and finally a financial guarantee of 5,000 shekels (about $1,280) to be handed over to the Israeli side to ensure that the Israeli preconditions are met.

Meanwhile, the families of the four Palestinians, who were summoned by the Israeli intelligence, said they refused to comply with the Israeli preconditions. The Israeli intelligence later announced it would delay the handing over of the bodies.

On Saturday, Israel released the bodies of 17 Palestinians from Hebron who were killed during the past three months of violent unrest.

International human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Israel’s policy withholding the bodies of Palestinians who are killed by Israeli fire.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, considered this policy a violation of human dignity, adding that the policy is not only morally wrong, but also undervalues Palestinians and their families.

Not only does Israel withhold the bodies of Palestinians’ suspects, but it also reportedly freezes their bodies under extremely low degrees. “Israel freezes the bodies of the Palestinian martyrs in mortuaries held at -35 degrees which prevents autopsy for 24 to 48 hours,” Head of Al-Quds University’s Institute for Forensic Medicine, Saber al-Aloul told Maan News Agency.