Israeli Supreme Court reverses earlier ruling, authorizes Israel to hold bodies of Palestinians as bargaining chips

In 4-3 majority vote, Supreme Court allows Israel to continue to hold bodies of 13 Palestinians as bargaining chips; Adalah: Extreme court ruling violates Israeli law and international convention prohibiting torture and cruel and inhuman treatment.

The Israeli Supreme Court reversed an earlier ruling and decided this afternoon, Monday, 9 September 2019, that Israel is authorized to continuing holding the bodies of 13 Palestinians for use as bargaining chips.


The 4-3 majority ruling confirmed that Israeli emergency regulations permit the Israeli military to order the interim burial of bodies designated as deceased enemies, based on considerations that take into account state security, civil order, and the need to negotiate for the return of the bodies of Israeli soldiers.


Israeli Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut, together with justices Neal Hendel, Yitzhak Amit, and Noam Sohlberg held the majority opinion against dissenting justices Uzi Vogelman, Daphne Barak-Erez, and George Kara.


The dissenting justices accepted the position made by lawyers of families of the deceased Palestinians now being held by Israel that the emergency regulations do not authorize the military to hold bodies as bargaining chips, and that holding them directly contravenes the basic principles of international law.


Adalah issued a response shortly after the Israeli Supreme Court ruling was made public:


"This is the first time in history that a court – anywhere in the world – authorizes state authorities to hold the bodies of individuals under its control, to which international laws governing occupation apply, and to use them as bargaining chips. This is one of the most extreme Supreme Court rulings since 1948, as it undermines the most basic principles of universal humanity. The court ruling is in violation of Israeli law and violates international law, most notably the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment".


Muhammad Alyan, one of the petitioners, issued a statement on behalf of the Palestinian families:


"This is an extremely racist ruling that runs contrary to international law but, yet, is consistent with the Israeli government's political decisions. This is collective punishment. The families will consider appealing to international courts in an effort to do everything possible to recover the bodies of their loved ones".


CLICK HERE to read the Supreme Court ruling [Hebrew]


(Homepage file photo by: Palestine Solidarity Project)


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