JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli intelligence on Monday evening reportedly decided to release the body of Muhammad Abu Khalaf at midnight on Tuesday. Abu Khalaf was shot dead in February after stabbing and wounding two Israeli border police officers outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City
Muhammad Mahmoud, a lawyer for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs told Ma’an Monday night that Israeli intelligence decided to deliver the body of Abu Khalaf to his parents at midnight, on the condition that he is buried in al-Mujahidin cemetery on Salah al-Din street in Jerusalem, limit attendance to 25 people. The family was also forces to pay a security deposit of 20,000 shekels ($5,313).
Earlier last month, Issa Qaraqe, the head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, made a statement saying that Israeli authorities had approved the “gradual release” of slain Palestinian bodies.
Israeli authorities also added preconditions for the release of the bodies, stipulating that the funerals be held at 1 a.m. and that only the families of the slain Palestinians would be permitted to attend.
The families of the slain Palestinians have appealed the Israeli Supreme Court for months, with the court ruling in May that all of the bodies of Palestinians held by Israel be released to their families before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in June.
However, Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan ordered that Israeli police suspend the return of the bodies just a few weeks after the ruling, claiming that the funeral encouraged “incitement” against the state of Israel.
The families have since had to return to court to negotiate the release of their slain family members.
In June, Israeli police decided that slain Palestinians from East Jerusalem accused of “terrorism” would no longer have funerals in their neighborhoods or villages, but would instead be buried in cemeteries chosen by the police, adding to the long list of preconditions.
While the families of the slain Palestinians have accepted conditions set by Israeli police, many bodies have yet to be released by Israeli authorities.
The release of Abu Khalaf’s body will leave the number of slain Palestinians accused of committing attacks against Israelis who are still being held in Israeli morgues at 11, including including three women and one resident of occupied East Jerusalem, among them Abd al-Muhsen Hassuneh, 21.
Within the last week, the bodies of two other slain East Jerusalem residents were returned to their families and buried in al-Mujahidin cemetery under strict Israeli police presence.
After holding his body in a morgue for more than ten months, Israeli forces returned the body of Thaer Abu Ghazaleh, 19, one week after what would have been his 20th birthday.
Abu Ghazaleh was shot and killed by Israeli forces in early October after he carried out a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv which left four Israelis injured.
After 325 days in an Israeli morgue, the body of 22-year-old Bahaa Elayyan was returned on Thursday to his family, which has been leading the movement advocating for Israel to release slain Palestinians’ bodies.
Elayyan, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir, was killed alongside another Palestinian after they attacked an Israeli bus on Oct. 13, killing three Israelis with knives and a gun.