The National Campaign for the Retrieval of Palestinian and Arab Victims’ Bodies held by Israel:
The Occupation’s Decision to Transfer Recently withheld Bodies to the Cemeteries of Numbers in an Effort to Conceal Evidence of their Crimes
A ministerial committee within the Israel Occupation’s cabinet, has issued a series of decisions that serve to collectively punish the Palestinian people. Such includes a decision to transfer the corpses of twelve victims (three of whom are female) currently withheld in refrigerators at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute. Some of the victims have been held in the refrigerators for more than ten months, denying their families the right to bury and mourn their children in accordance to their faith.
The refusal to return the corpses is in contradiction to the Israeli Supreme Court decision to release withheld remains and close all cases of corpses currently withheld in refrigerators before the start of Ramadan. Israeli security has recognized that the policy of detaining victims’ remains has failed as a deterrent. The current government, the most extreme since the creation of Israel, has neglected the cases of returning victims’ remains in all legal and ethical regards and has cheapened them to that of bargaining chips.
The campaign believes that withholding victims’ remains and the Occupation authority’s decision to deny autopsies are fabricated to hide the evidence of unlawful (extra-judicial) killing in many of the cases. To date, the Israeli authorities refuse to disclose the results of their investigations into the killings, or release video footage from surveillance cameras that captured many of the murders.
The National Campaign for the Retrieval of Palestinian and Arab Victims’ Bodies held by Israel and lawyers with the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) are examining the legal strategies that may be taken in the coming period towards ensuring the right of the families to retrieve the bodies of their children (including undertaking autopsies when the families request one and uncovering the results of investigations into their cold-blooded killings).
The Campaign also calls on the entirety of Palestinian society and the Palestinian Authority to assume their responsibilities towards this plight of retrieving withheld victims’ remains towards ensuring the right of the families to bury their dead and learn of the circumstances of their brutal death.