Israeli authorities are expected to hand over the bodies of 17 Palestinians from the Hebron area killed while suspected of carrying out attacks on Israeli military and civilians, a Palestinian liaison announced Friday.
The bodies of six other Palestinians will also be handed over to families in the Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin areas.
The Palestinian liaison said the bodies were expected to be delivered Friday afternoon. Hebron governor Kamel Hamid following the announcement told Ma’an that the decision was made following continuous demands of the families of the slain Palestinians.
The coordinator for the Palestinian National Committee for Retrieving Bodies of Martyrs, Bayed Amin, told Ma’an that the return was in part facilitated by the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid which worked with Israeli authorities for the release.
Israel has returned a number of Palestinian bodies to families across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem over the last week, including seven in the Ramallah area Thursday night.
Amid a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territories in October, Israel’s security cabinet passed a decision to withhold the bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis.
The policy has not been carried out with such frequency since the Second Intifada and has sparked major backlash among Palestinian communities, who began staging demonstrations demanding the bodies be returned.
During a Knesset meeting on Nov. 5, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that “holding onto bodies is in itself not a deterrent to potential terrorists,” announcing that bodies would be returned on a “case-by-case basis.”
Bodies have since been handed over conditionally, with Israeli authorities demanding the bodies be buried immediately following their handover and that funerals be limited in attendance.
Several Palestinian families earlier this week rejected the conditional returns and petitioned for Israel to allow relatives of slain Palestinians to carry out the burial of their loved ones on their own terms.
Of the signatories’ concerns was the inability for families to request official autopsy of their relative due to the requirement of immediate burial.
The Palestinian Ministry of Justice has reportedly adopted a resolution to perform autopsies on the bodies of all Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in effort to document “Israeli crimes.”
Sabir al-Alou, a coronor responsible for performing autopsies on a number of slain Palestinian and head of Al-Quds University's Institute for Forensic Medicine, told Ma’an Thursday that Israel has returned the bodies full frozen, making immediate autopsies before burial impossible.
The Hebron area where 17 bodies are expected to be returned Friday afternoon has remained especially charged during the recent violence. A joint funeral held in the city for five Palestinians slain while reportedly carrying out attacks was held in October and drew thousands of attendees.
The names of slain Palestinians whose bodies are expected to be included in the Hebron handover :
1. Basil Bassam Sider
2. Fadhil Abdullah Qawasmah
3. Hamza Mousa al-Amlah
4. Saad Muhammad al-Atrash
5. Shadi Nabil al-Qudsi
6. Izz al-Din Nadi Abu Shkheidem
7. Humaam Adnan al-Sa'eed
8. Islam Rafiq Obeido
9. Mahdi Muhammad al-Muhtaseb
10. Farouq Abd al-Qadir Sider
11. Fadi Hassan al-Froukh
12. Malik Talal al-Shareef
13. Mustafa Fadhil Fanoon
14. Ibah Fathi Miswadeh
15. Omar Issa al-Za'aqeeq
16. Tahir Fanoon
17. Abd al-Rahman Miswadeh
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