WEST BANK (Dispatches) – A Zionist regime court has ruled that the military can withhold bodies of the Palestinians that it kills to grant the occupying regime leverage in future negotiations with Palestinians, drawing immediate condemnation from Palestinians.
The verdict was issued after a majority vote by an expanded panel of seven judges.
The Zionist regime’s judges alleged in their decision that withholding Palestinians’ bodies falls within the purview of the regime’s security, and claimed that the practice was not illegal under international law governing armed conflict.
The measure was adopted in response to a petition by the families of six Palestinians, whose bodies are currently in the regime’s possession.
It reverses a 2017 High Court ruling on the matter, which determined that holding on to bodies was illegal, in a "violation of human rights as well as the rights of the deceased and his family.”
It noted at the time that the regime’s authorities could hold on to the bodies of Palestinians who had purportedly committed "particularly egregious” acts of "terror,” and that the decision should be anchored in a specific and explicit law.
Zionist troops regularly take custody of Palestinians’ bodies. Sometimes the bodies are later returned to their families for burial. At other times, they are withheld to prevent celebratory funerals in Palestinian towns, or with a view to using them in negotiations to retrieve the bodies of Zionist troops held by resistance groups.
According to Palestinian campaigners pushing for the release of the remains of those killed by Zionist troops, the Tel Aviv regime currently holds over 300 Palestinians bodies.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates censured the decision and described it as an extension of the regime’s violations and its continued crimes and punitive measures against Palestinian people.
"Once again, the so-called judicial system in the occupying power, including the Israeli High Court, proved that it is an integral part of the occupation system, and has nothing to do with the principles and foundations of justice, and issues its decisions based on what the colonial system itself determines and decides for it,” the ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday.
A Zionist regime court has ruled that the military can withhold bodies of the Palestinians that it kills to grant the occupying regime leverage in future negotiations with Palestinians.