The Mission of the State of Palestine would like to share a legal analysis of the Israeli’s inhumane policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians executed and killed by Israeli occupation forces.
The Israeli policy amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment of the victims and their families under Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a copy of which is attached for your perusal.
The withholding of the bodies also amounts to collective punishment of their families, prohibited under the Geneva Convention.
Finding no legal framework in their system which would enable Israel to withhold the bodies of Palestinians whether living in OPT or inside of Israel; the Knesset enacted legislation in 2018 giving themselves the green light to violate international law and withhold the bodies.
Israel, at the end of December 2019, continued to withhold the bodies of 51 Palestinian martyrs. This figure is in addition to the hundreds buried in unmarked graves in the “cemetery of numbers”, where each body is tagged with a number, leaving them impossible for families to identify.
We call on the international community to exert legal and diplomatic pressure on Israel to return bodies and to hold Israel accountable for continuing this inhuman and disrespectful policy that infringes upon human dignity.