Families of Jerusalem Martyrs Refuse Any Conditions on Returning their Children's Bodies

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03 January 2016

Addameer’s lawyer, adv. Mohammad Mahmoud, reported that the families of four martyrs from Jerusalem refused to accept any conditions on returning the bodies of their children by the Israeli occupation forces. Mr. Mohammad Alayyan, who spoke on behalf of the families stated that the families refused accepting any conditions on returning the bodies of their children, especially the financial guarantee requested by Israeli occupation forces in order to receive the bodies. Families of West Bank martyrs have taken a similar stance and refused to accept any conditions at all. The bodies of dozens of Palestinian martyrs have been withheld by the Israeli authorities for the past three months.

Officers of the Israeli occupation’s intelligence agency held a meeting with the families of the following martyrs: Ishaq Badran (16 year old), Mohammad Said Mohammad Ali (19 year old) and Ahmad Hamada Qneibi (22 years old) in the presence of Adv. Mohammad Mahmoud. The family of the martyr Khalid Manasra (16 year old) was also informed about the meeting. The occupation’s intelligence agency agreed to hand over the families the bodies of their children under the following conditions: 1- The burial has to be done on the West Bank side of the apartheid wall, mainly in the towns of Kufr Aqab and Anata 2- The families have to bury the bodies of their children immediately after receiving them 3- The families have to pay the amount of 5,000 shekels (1,300 USD) to the Israeli authorities as a financial guarantee for complying to the aforementioned conditions.

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association affirms the families’ right to receive the bodies of their children without any conditions and considers the occupation’s policy of withholding the bodies of martyrs to be inhumane and a form of collective punishment that targets Palestinian families. Such policy also goes against the religious and cultural norms of the Palestinian society, which stress the need to immediately bury the martyrs' bodies. withholding the bodies of martyrs and imposing a designated burial place far from the family’s residence is an extreme measure meant to make Palestinian families suffer and also constitutes a form of psychological torture that corresponds to Israel’s discriminatory laws, practices and policies of ethnic cleansing and collective punishment against Palestinians.

Addameer further believes that the policy of withholding the bodies of martyrs and the refusal to open an investigation into the circumstances of their death aims to impede justice and prevents revealing the true circumstances around their killings. For the past three months, Israeli occupation forces and settlers have been practicing a form of extrajudicial executions against Palestinians whereby lethal force is being used against Palestinians without justification and under the protection and complicity of the Israeli occupation’s political and judicial authorities.