Israeli authorities have decided to return the bodies of two slain Palestinians who were shot and killed by Israeli forces over the past two months, after committing and allegedly attempting to commit stabbing attacks against Israeli soldiers, according to the victims’ families.
The family of Maen Nasser al-Din Abu Qaraa, 23, told Ma’an that Israeli forces notified them that they would be returning their son’s body to the family in their village of al-Mazraa al-Qibliyaa in the central occupied West Bank Ramallah district.
Abu Qaraa was killed by Israeli forces on Nov. 3 near the entrance of the illegal Israeli Ofra settlement after he allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Qudsdays at the time that a Palestinian “armed with a knife attempted to stab an Israeli soldier guarding a bus stop” near Ofra, and that she was not aware of any Israelis being injured in the case.
Israeli forces reportedly prevented Palestinian medics from approaching the scene, eyewitnesses said, adding that Israeli medical teams did not treat him, leaving him to bleed to death.
Israeli intelligence authorities told Abu Qaraa’s family that they would inform the family of the details of the body’s release by phone call Friday morning.
Israeli intelligence authorities also informed the family of slain Palestinian Hamad Khader al-Sheikh, 21, that his body would be returned to the family’s village of Beit Surik in the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem.
Al-Sheikh was killed after carrying out a stabbing attack in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on Dec. 14, injuring one Israeli soldier.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said at the time that a suspect approached a group of Israeli police forces deployed near the Austrian Hospice hospital in the Old City, took out a screwdriver and stabbed one of the officers in the head, lightly injuring him.
Witnesses at the time said al-Sheikh was left on the ground bleeding for 20 minutes, adding that a Palestinian doctor arrived on the scene but was pushed away by Israeli forces before they finally let him administer first aid to the wounded Palestinian until Israeli ambulances arrived at the scene.
Al-Sheikh’s family was also told by Israeli authorities that they would be notified by phone call Friday morning of the details of the body’s release.
Israeli authorities dramatically escalated a policy of withholding Palestinian bodies killed by Israeli forces following the emergence of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October 2015, having repeatedly claimed that funerals of Palestinians had provided grounds for “incitement” against the Israeli state.
However, following an uproar of protest among Palestinians over the policy, Israeli authorities began scaling down the practice, although a number of bodies still remain withheld.When Israeli authorities have decided to return slain bodies and allow funerals in the occupied Palestinian territory, the ceremonies have been typically restricted by a long list of conditions imposed by Israeli authorities, including limiting the number of attendees and the deployment of Israeli soldiers throughout the event.Palestinian families have also been forced to pay large financial deposits to the Israeli government as a collateral for potential “incitement” during the funerals and to ensure that families abide by Israeli-imposed conditions.After Israeli decided to release the bodies of nine Palestinians last week to their families in the occupied West Bank, mourners at the funeral for Khalid Ikhlayyil in the Beit Ummar were met with live ammunition, tear gas, and rubber-coated steel bullets fired by Israeli forces.
Meanwhile, Israeli police announced in June that slain Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem suspected of “terrorism” would no longer be able to have funerals in their neighborhoods or villages, but would instead be buried in cemeteries chosen by the Israeli police.A joint statement released by Addameer and Israeli minority rights group Adalah in March condemned Israel’s practice of withholding bodies as “a severe violation of international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law, including violations of the right to dignity, freedom of religion, and the right to practice culture.”
The statement said it appeared “many” of the Palestinians whose bodies Israel was holding had been “extrajudicially executed by Israeli forces during alleged attacks against Israelis, despite posing no danger.”