Each Aug. 27, Palestinians commemorate the National Day for Retrieval of the Bodies of slain Palestinians held in Israeli morgues.
In 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court approved the continued hold of slain Palestinians’ bodies as bargaining chips for future negotiations on prisoners swap deals with Palestinians.
The Israeli occupation had previously released the bodies of three Palestinian children, including the child Nassim Abu Romi, 14, whose body was held from August 5 to September 21, 2019, the child Samah Zuhair Mubarak, 16, whose body was held in Israeli morgues from January to March 2019, and 16-year-old Muhammad Abdullah Hamed whose body was released a few days after his detention in June 2022.
Spokesman for the National Campaign for Retrieval of the Bodies of Palestinian Martyrs, Hussein Shajaiya, said that the Israeli occupation is holding the bodies of 105 martyrs in refrigerators, along with 256 martyrs in the Cemetery of Numbers, the covert Israeli cemeteries where remains of unidentified Palestinians are interred, including 9 children, 3 women and 8 prisoners who spent different periods in the occupation’s prisons.
Unlike other slain children, Badawi Khaled Masalmeh’s father said that Israeli forces did not give him the opportunity to identify his son, nor interrogated his family members, as it usually happens with martyrs’ families.
He insisted on his right to know his son’s fate, whether he is alive or dead. He expressed hope to say a final farewell to his son and to bury him according to the Islamic doctrine.
Al-Masalma frequently participate in protest vigils held by the National Campaign to Retrieve the Bodies of the Martyrs, to press for their slain relatives’ body release.
Fears of Israeli harvesting organs from dead Palestinians
Masalmeh believes that his son was still alive during his arrest, although Israeli authorities informed him of his death.
Missed persons cannot be considered dead in official papers, he pointed out, condemning the Israeli decades-long policy of withholding bodies of dead Palestinians from their families.
In this regard, we condemn the international community’s double standard policy and pro-Israel bias. The international community continues to stand idly towards the escalated Israeli human rights violations.
We call on the international community to “assume its responsibilities and pressure the occupying power to release the slain Palestinians’ bodies.”