Palestinian Chairman of the General Authority for Civil Affairs, Hussein al-Sheikh, said Monday that Israel will release the remains of 84 Palestinians which have been held by the Israeli government since 1967 and buried in special cemeteries in Israel. Most of the bodies belong to Palestinian fighters who were killed during attacks against Israeli targets in the occupied territories and inside 1948 lands.
The Palestinian bodies are buried in graves which hold numbers and not names. Thus, these cemeteries are referred to as “Numbered Graves.”
Al-Sheikh told the Palestinian news agency WAFA: “After intensive negotiations which lasted over a year, the Israeli government decided to release 84 bodies, most of whom were held since 1967. Israel will release another 102 bodies without preconditions.”
He said a mass funeral ceremony will be held in the Presidential headquarters in Ramallah, after which their families will receive the bodies.
Israel has previously released Lebanese prisoner, Samir al-Quntar and Palestinians’ bodies in exchange for the bodies of Israeli soldiers who were killed in Lebanon.
Coordinator of the national campaign to retrieve the Palestinian bodies held by the Israeli government, Salim Khilla, said Israel holds over 317 bodies of Palestinians which were buried in graves without gravestones. According to Khilla, there are four cemeteries which contain over 800 graves of Palestinians since 1967.