Palestinian families and advocates yesterday “marked the national day for the retrieval of the bodies and disclosure of the fate of the missing”, reported Xinhua, as Israeli authorities continued to withhold dozens of Palestinian bodies.
Salwa Hammad, coordinator of the national campaign for the retrieval of the bodies of Palestinian and Arab war victims and disclosure of the fate of those missing, said “this national day is of high importance to the families and the Palestinian society”.
According to Xinhua, campaigners “launched an electronic campaign on social media platforms, submitted a letter to the UN high commissioner for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, and held a march in Ramallah by the families of the deceased or missing Palestinians”.
The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre described the Israeli policy of withholding bodies as a form of collective punishment and “an unprecedented punishment of the dead”, slamming what it described as “Israel’s exploitation of the pains of parents of martyrs for political ends”.
Fatima Al-Faqih told Xinhua that her cousin’s body was released a few years ago after the campaign’s persistent work, but that her brother’s body continues to be held by Israel.
“Our family will continue to join efforts in every solidarity activity and we will not get tired. We will continue to demand the release of the bodies, whether they are in cemeteries or in refrigerators.”