Palestinian Families Petition Israeli Supreme Court to Return 3 Slain Family Members

249 slain Palestinians are buried in cemeteries of numbers. (Photo: Ma'an)

Attorneys representing the families of three Palestinians who were shot dead in June submitted an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court to have the remains of the three young men released for proper burial.

Muhammed Mahmoud, an attorney from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, petitioned the court on Monday on behalf of the families of Adel Ankoush, 18, Baraa Saleh, 18, and Osama Atta, 19 – all from the central occupied West Bank town of Deir Abu Mashaal.

Israel has detained their bodies since June 16 when the three were shot dead after carrying out a stabbing and shooting attack that left an Israeli police officer dead outside of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Human rights organizations have widely condemned Israel’s policy of withholding Palestinian bodies, with prisoners’ rights group Addameer calling it a form of “collective punishment” against Palestinians who had not been accused of any wrongdoing, also noting that it “adds to the severe grief and trauma of families of the deceased.”

Furthermore, the three families in Deir Abu Mashaal have had their homes punitively demolished and blown up, leaving a total of 22 people homeless despite having not having been charged with any wrongdoing.

Despite the fact that the court has yet to reach a decision on the case, the Israeli state announced last week that the bodies of four of the Palestinians included in that appeal have already been buried in so-called cemeteries of numbers – mass graves comprised of marked and unmarked plots of mostly Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past 60 years.

The appeals came after Israel’s Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan requested that withheld Palestinian bodies be buried in the cemetery of numbers, to be used as a bargaining chip with Hamas to secure the return of Israeli soldiers believed to be held in the Gaza Strip.

The committee said Israel is withholding 249 slain Palestinians who have been buried in the cemeteries of numbers over the years.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

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