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Israeli Supreme Court to hold session over release of slain Palestinians’ bodies

March 20, 2017 12:54 P.M. (Updated: March 20, 2017 6:09 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- The Israeli Supreme Court is scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday to discuss an appeal submitted for the release the bodies of slain Palestinians still being held by Israel, amid an ongoing legal battle by the families of the deceased Palestinians fighting for the right to bury their sons.

Lawyer from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Muhammad Mahmoud highlighted in a statement Monday that the appeal included a demand for the release of the bodies of Abd al-Hamid Abu Srour and Misbah Abu Sbeih, who were both killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis.

Abd al-Hamid Abu Srour from Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, died while carrying out a bomb attack on a bus in Jerusalem on April 18, which left 21 injured. Misbah Abu Sbeih, 39, from the neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, was shot and killed by Israeli police on Oct. 9 after carrying out a drive-by shooting in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which left an Israeli police officer and Israeli woman dead, and at least five others injured.

In February, the Israeli Supreme Court 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.

The Israeli state also demanded that the court back down from a decision made in June that initially agreed release the body of Abu Srour.

In January, Israel’s security cabinet said that the body of Abu Srour, along with those of two other slain Palestinians -- Muhammad Tarayra and Muhammad al-Faqih -- would not be returned to their families due to their alleged affiliation with the Hamas movement, and that they would instead be buried inside Israel in a “graveyard for enemy dead.”

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.

The bodies of Fadi al-Qunbar and Rami Awartani also remain held. Since the court session, the body of Muhammad Nabil Zeidan was released for burial.

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."
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