Adalah demands Israel immediately return bodies of Al Aqsa shooting suspects

In response to Adalah petition, Israeli Supreme Court decides to hold hearing on issue Sunday; Adalah: No law permits Israeli police to hold bodies and prevent families from burying their children.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court today, Thursday, 20 July 2017, demanding that the Israeli police immediately return for burial the bodies of the three suspects involved in last Friday's (14 July) shooting attack at Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem that also resulted in the deaths of two Israeli police officers.


UPDATE (14:30, 20 July 2017): The Supreme Court responded to Adalah’s petition within just a few hours, ruling that a hearing on the issue will be held on Sunday, 23 July, at 16:00.


Adalah filed the petition on behalf of the families of the deceased alleged assailants Mohammed Ahmed Musa Jabareen, 29, Mohammed Hamed Jabareen, 19, and Mohammed Ahmed Mfadi Jabareen, 19. All three are citizens of Israel and lived in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahem located in central Israel.


Adalah also demands that the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Division (Mahash) order the performance of autopsies on the bodies of Mohammed Ahmed Mfadi Jabareen and Mohammed Hamed Jabareen in order to further determine the cause of their deaths.


(Screen grab from video by Kamil Abbadi Photography)


Adalah Attorney Mohammad Bassam wrote in the petition that the Israeli police's "holding of and refusal to return the bodies has no legal authority or basis, and there is no legal order that allows the Israel Police to retain bodies."


The Israeli police's refusal to return the bodies of the three men impinges upon the constitutional rights of the deceased and their families.


"It is the right of every individual to be buried in a quick, respectable, and appropriate manner," Attorney Bassam wrote. "This right cannot be separated from the right to dignity; indeed, the right to dignity is not granted strictly to the living but also to individuals after their death."


Adalah noted that Umm al-Fahem Mayor Khaled Hamdan Aghbariyya held talks with senior Israeli police officials on this issue over the last several days, and was told that police had no problem returning the bodies but that the decision was being delayed by the Israeli political echelon.


Adalah also stressed in its petition that the refusal to perform autopsies on the bodies of two of the men prevents their families from knowing the truth about the cause of death of their sons. In this context, the police claim that the shooting of the deceased by the officers was necessary due to the danger they posed, however, this contention should not stand in the way of the parents' right to demand an autopsy.




This case is not the first time that the Israeli police or political leaders have refused to return the bodies of deceased Palestinians (both citizens of Israel and residents of the OPT) who assaulted or who were alleged to have harmed or killed Israeli civilians or police and were killed by state agents.


Following Supreme Court petitions by Adalah, Addameer, and others in 2016 and 2017, the bodies of the deceased were returned to their families after much stalling and evasion by the Israeli authorities. The UN Committee Against Torture in reviewing Israel in 2016 urged Israel "to return the bodies of the Palestinians that have not yet been returned to their relatives as soon as possible so they can be buried in accordance with their traditions and religious customs, and to avoid that similar situations are repeated in the future."  (Concluding Observations on Israel, para. 42, 43)


CLICK HERE to read Adalah's petition [HEBREW]


CLICK HERE to read the Supreme Court’s response [HEBREW]