ISRAEL ACCUSED OF ‘TRAFFICKING WITH HUMAN BODIES’ – Jerusalem Legal Aid & Human Rights Centre

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Mother in Nablus hold up a photograph of her son whose body has not been released by Israel

FOR the first time, Israel has provided a list of names and place of burial of 123 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and whose bodies have been withheld by Israel since then, said the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre (JLAC) on Wednesday.

It said in a statement that it received a response from the Israeli prosecution office to the petition submitted by JLAC to the Israeli High Court demanding to know names and burial site of the dead Palestinians. The High Court is scheduled to consider the petition on February 10th.
The response included for the first time a list of the full names of 123 dead Palestinians, which would make it easier for their families to identify them.
It said that JLAC was constantly demanding that Israel turn over the corpses to their families for proper burial, noting that withholding them violates international laws and conventions, and that by withholding the corpses for bargaining purposes actually means trafficking with human bodies, which is an unprecedented behaviour for states.
JLAC attorney, Suleiman Shaheen, who represented the families in the petitions, described this development as ‘an important breakthrough’, particularly since the Israeli prosecutor had informed the court when it started to look into this matter in 2016 that it was not possible to locate any of the bodies due to lack of documentation, and that some were buried by private companies without keeping any official documents for them.
He said the Israeli prosecution office submitted its written statement prior to next Monday’s court to collectively demand, for the first time, to establish a DNA database and to take specimens from families of the deceased to help identify the corpses, as demanded by JLAC in the petitions submitted in 2016.

  • The Israel authorities on Wednesday ordered a halt to the rehabilitation of a school playground in the village of Susiya, in the south of the occupied West Bank, and the demolition of a structure in Sebastia village, in the north of the West Bank.

Abdul Aziz Abu Finnar, from the Yatta municipality, said Israeli forces handed Susiya School principal a notice ordering him to stop work on the rehabilitation of the school’s playground.
Israeli forces seized over a week ago a bulldozer and a digger that were working on rehabilitating the playground in the 15-classroom school attended by dozens of students from Masafer Yatta’s cluster of villages.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army notified a Palestinian resident of Sebastia of its intention to demolish his structure, while ordering another resident to remove a tent he had set up in the archaeological area of the village, according to the mayor of Sebastia, Mohammad Azim.
He told WAFA that Israeli forces handed Nael Abu Aqel a demolition notice for a structure he owns in the archaeological area and ordered Malik Makhalfeh to remove his mobile tent catering to tourists visiting the historical site.
Azim said Israeli forces regularly raid the site to intimidate people doing business there.
He said the army had demolished Abu Aqel’s structure four years ago but its owner had rebuilt it.

  • Israeli forces on Wednesday detained 19 Palestinians, including a village mayor, and assaulted others in several overnight raids across the West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoner Society (PPS).

Israeli forces rounded up seven Palestinians from the southern West Bank district of Hebron, it explained. One of them was identified as the mayor of Beit Kahel, a town located to the north west of Hebron.
Four others, including a 16-year-old, a 17-year-old and a former prisoner, were all identified as residents of Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron.
In the northern West Bank, PPS said an Israeli military raid in Jenin refugee camp resulted in the detention of three Palestinians. The raid triggered confrontations during which soldiers opened fire towards protesters. No injuries were reported though.
A similar pre-dawn raid was conducted in Jalqamus village, southeast of Jenin, resulting in the detention of another.
Soldiers re-arrested a former prisoner after ransacking his house in Siris town, south of Jenin.
Meanwhile, soldiers detained three Palestinians, including two former prisoners, in raids across Nablus district. One of the detainees was identified as a resident of Askar area and another as a resident of Beita town, south of Nablus.
In Qalqilia district, a similar overnight raid was carried out in Azzun town, east of Qalqilia city, resulting in the detention of two men.
In Salfit district, Israeli military stormed Qarawat Bani Hassan town, northwest of Salfit city, where soldiers re-arrested a former prisoner.
In Ramallah district, PPS said that soldiers carried out a raid in Birzeit town, north of Ramallah city, where they detained a Palestinian.

  • Israel’s warplanes have launched new airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip amid escalating tensions in the region over the US President Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century on Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Media sources in Palestine said the airstrikes on Tuesday targeted a position belonging to the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement in the city of Rafah, south of the coastal enclave.
The warplanes also fired five missiles at Hamas positions in the city of Khan Younis located in the southern besieged Gaza Strip.
Israel has carried out a number of airstrikes on Gaza in the past few days, with Palestinians having responded by launching several rockets into the occupied territories.
Israeli jet fighters have targeted the positions of Palestinian resistance forces in the southern Gaza Strip.
Tel Aviv claims the attacks are in retaliation for Hamas’ alleged launch of ‘incendiary balloons’ allegedly directed toward the occupied territories.
Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007.
Since 2008, Israel has waged three wars against Gaza, where about two million Palestinians live under a 12-year Israeli blockade. Thousands of Gazans have been killed in each of these deadly wars.
Tensions have escalated in the region since US President Donald Trump unveiled his so-called Middle East ‘peace’ plan on Tuesday January 28th.
The scheme — which all Palestinian groups have unanimously rejected — largely meets Israel’s demands in the decades-old conflict, while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders.
It enshrines Jerusalem al-Quds as ‘Israel’s undivided capital’ and allows the regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley, among other controversial terms.
Meanwhile, a draft UN Security Council resolution condemned Tuesday an Israeli plan to annex its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank following the Trump’s proposed plan.
The resolution ‘stresses the illegality of the annexation of any part’ of occupied Palestinian territories and ‘condemns recent statements calling for annexation by Israel’ of these territories.
The draft text, circulated to council members by Tunisia and Indonesia, would seemingly face a US veto.
Diplomats said negotiations on the text would likely begin soon and the Palestinian president is expected to speak to the council next week about the plan, which would possibly coincide with a vote on the draft resolution.
Currently, more than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and have been condemned almost unanimously by the international community.