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Palestinian Popular Campaign to Restore Martyrs’ Bodies

Families of Palestinian martyrs, killed by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), launched a popular campaign for the release of their sons’ bodies from Israeli morgues.

The declaration came during a protest held by dozens of families in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, demanding the release of their sons’ bodies which are kept in the “cemeteries of numbers” or mortuaries. The martyrs’ photos were also raised during the protest.

During the event, Adnan Rajabeh, the father of the martyr Bilal Rajbeh who was killed by the Israeli army in November 2020 and whose body continues to be held in Israeli morgues, said that the families of the martyrs have exhausted all legal procedures in Israel, including the Supreme Court.

Since 2015, 253 bodies are currently held at the “cemeteries of numbers” while 105 bodies have been kept in the morgues, Rajabeh pointed out.

The continued detention of our sons’ bodies causes immense suffering to the families, as they are unable to bury their loved ones and perform the mourning rituals, he added.

The campaign further stresses the need to reveal the fate of the missing, whose presence Israel denies.

“Cemeteries of numbers” refers to the manner in which mass graves of Palestinian martyrs have been anonymously buried with numbers imprinted onto metal placards attached to graves. Each number denotes a special file about the martyr kept by the Israeli security agency.

In October 2015, Israel resumed its practice of holding onto the bodies of Palestinian martyrs killed by Israeli fire. However, some were returned to their families after being kept by Israel for several months.

In this regard, we stress that denying families the right to bring their loved ones to burial, practice religious and traditional death rituals, and visit graves cause them indescribable pain that totally violates the international human rights law.

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