Playing politics with the dead


Israel has now extended its oppression of the Palestinians to their dead, when the Israeli Knesset adopted a draconian legislation that won 48 votes against ten.

The bill enables Israeli authorities to refuse the release of bodies of Palestinian fighters killed in battle infinitely, except under certain arbitrary conditions which the Israeli forces would determine on its own as appropriate and would not threaten the security of Israel.

As a matter of fact, this inhuman Israeli measure of playing politics with the corpses of Palestinians who died while fighting Israeli forces goes back to several decades ago, but has acquired a more official framework after the Knesset approved the bill, thus allowing Israeli police to hold the bodies of Palestinian fighters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set this strategy in motion in 2017 when he refused the release of the bodies of five Palestinians until the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed during the 2014 Gaza war were repatriated.

The Israeli high court of justice ruled then the practice as unlawful, unless the Israeli legislature adopted a legislation that regularises it and sets the conditions under which the release of killed Palestinians can happen.

The approved bill reauthorises the “seizure” of Palestinians’ dead bodies until Israeli authorities are certain that the security of Israel would not be compromised by the release of bodies, while the determination of the security implication of the release of the bodies of Palestinians killed is left to the whims of the Israeli police.

This policy is yet another obstacle in the face of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and is sure to inflame feelings of anger among the Palestinians and render peacemaking with Israel much more impossible.


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