Adalah, Al Mezan: Families of individuals killed in Gaza tunnel maintain right to return of bodies

Israeli military reveals it’s holding bodies of Palestinians pulled from detonated Gaza tunnel; international humanitarian law forbids holding bodies as bargaining chips.


Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza) moved to withdraw their petition to the Israeli Supreme Court as the Israeli military revealed tonight, Sunday, 5 November 2017, that it has unearthed and is now holding the bodies of five Palestinians who were killed when it destroyed a tunnel adjacent to the Israel-Gaza border. The families of the deceased maintain their right to demand the return of the bodies of their relatives for burial.


In their petition, the two human rights organizations had called on the Supreme Court to order the Israeli military to allow Palestinian search and rescue teams from Gaza to enter the "buffer zone" – a “sterile” strip along the Palestinian side of the border that routinely comes under Israeli military fire – in a timely manner to locate and rescue people trapped in the destroyed tunnel. [CLICK HERE for more details on the petition]


The holding of bodies contradicts the principles of international humanitarian law. Bodies of individuals who are killed during situations of conflict must be returned to their families for burial with dignity. international humanitarian law prohibits using bodies for political purposes or as bargaining chips.


CLICK HERE to read the Adalah-Al Mezan petition [Hebrew]


CLICK HERE to read the state’s response [Hebrew]


CLICK HERE to read the petition withdrawal letter [Hebrew]