BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Israeli Supreme Court has agreed to a demand by the Israeli government to postpone a ruling regarding the return of the bodies of six Palestinians who died while committing or allegedly committing attacks on Israelis, according to a Palestinian committee dedicated to securing the release of the bodies to their families for burial.
The Israeli state has also demanded that the court back down from a decision made in June agreeing to release the body Abd al-Hamid Abu Srour
Israel considers the bodies to be a bargaining chip that could be used in a future exchange deal with Hamas, the de facto rulers of the besieged Gaza Strip, where the bodies of two Israeli soldiers are believed to be held.
Muhammad Elayyan, a member of the legal committee established to recover the bodies and the father of slain Palestinian Bahaa Elayyan, said during a committee meeting on Sunday that the Israeli Supreme Court had postponed looking into the combined cases of all six bodies until March 22.
According to Elayyan, the Israeli general prosecution already stated on Thursday that the decision not to release the bodies of Abu Srour, Tayara, and al-Faqih remained unchanged.
During Sunday’s meeting, the committee for retrieving the bodies discussed steps to be taken in challenge the state’s decision, and scheduled a press conference in Bethlehem for March 11, when an action will also be staged to put pressure on Israel to release the bodies.
A joint statement released by Addameer and Israeli minority rights group Adalah in March 2016 condemned Israel’s practice of withholding bodies as "a severe violation of international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law, including violations of the right to dignity, freedom of religion, and the right to practice culture."