WEST BANK (Dispatches) – Around 20 years ago, Mohammad Nassar, 62, lost his son, Shadi, who was participating in resistance activities against the Zionist regime during the second Palestinian intifada, Anadolu Agency reports.
Nassar has since been in a constant struggle to retrieve Shadi’s body from the regime’s authorities.
“I want to bury him with full dignity, I want to rest in peace with the knowledge that he has a marked grave,” Nassar told Anadolu Agency. “I’m 62 years today and I have never stopped struggling for this for nearly 20 years, continuously.”
Since 2008, Nassar has been a central figure in the National Campaign for the Recovery of Martyrs’ Bodies.
Parents of the deceased Palestinians are members of the campaign and are fighting to have known locations for the graves of their children.
“Our memories together linger in every corner of this house. His name is never absent from our daily conversations,” said Nassar.
He said five of his grandchildren are named Shadi, a tribute to their uncle who did not return home.
As many as 102 bodies have been detained by regime authorities since 2015, according to Hussien Shejaeah, the campaign’s coordinator.
Eight are Palestinian prisoners who died inside jails but Zionist authorities have refused to release them to their families. Ten children and three women are on the list.
Documents by Al-Quds Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JALIC), which started the campaign, show that there are 256 bodies in the cemeteries of numbers, named after a numbering system that replaces names on graves.
“The detention of the bodies is a collective punishment policy that controls life after death for the Palestinians. It’s a punishment for the families that dug a grave for their son, and their hope just to know where his grave is, to visit it on special days. One of the Palestinian mothers told me every time this is an injury which is not able to be healed,” Shejaeah told Anadolu Agency.
Mohammed Shehadeh from the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said the occupying regime is flagrantly violating absolute prohibitions under customary international law on three crucial levels.
Its policy violates the four Geneva Conventions vis-a-vis the return of the dead to their families, he told Anadolu Agency.
Withholding Palestinian bodies constitutes a policy of collective punishment by the regime which is prohibited under the Hague Regulations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.