Israeli forces after midnight Monday returned the body of 37-year-old Muhammad Abed Nimr who was shot dead in November after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli border policeman in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Only 30 family members were allowed to partake in the funeral of Nimr, a native from the Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, at al-Mujahidin cemetery in Jerusalem’s Old City, said Muhammad Mahmoud, a lawyer for prisoners’ rights group Addameer who attended the funeral. Mahmoud said a large number of Israeli forces were deployed around Salah al-Din Street and Bab al-Sahira (Herod’s gate) as Nimr’s body was delivered to the family.
The Israeli Supreme Court ordered Israeli intelligence last week to return all bodies of Palestinians still being held before the holy month of Ramadan that begins in June, Mahmoud told Ma’an, following an appeal submitted by Addameer in March to release the bodies.“Only doctors and anatomy experts can determine whether there have been any organ thefts,” Mahmoud added.
Despite his deep grief, Nimr’s father said his family felt some relief after months of suffering and waiting. “I wish that all martyrs detained by Israel will be returned and buried in the coming few days,” he added. Eleven bodies of Jerusalemite Palestinians are still held by the Israeli intelligence, five of whom have been detained since October 2015.
Israel began holding bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks or attempting to carry out attacks when unrest increased in October, but began reversing the policy in November following uproar from Palestinian families and communities.
Senior Palestine Liberation Organization official Saeb Erekat urged the international community on March 4 to pressure Israel to release the bodies of Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces while allegedly carrying out attacks.He said: “Israel’s collective punishments are now being carried out against the living and the dead.”
A joint statement released by Addameer and Israeli minority rights group Adalah in March condemned Israel’s practice of withholding bodies as “a severe violation of international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law, including violations of the right to dignity, freedom of religion, and the right to practice culture.”
The statement said it appeared “many” of the Palestinians whose bodies Israel was holding had been “extrajudicially executed by Israeli forces during alleged attacks against Israelis, despite posing no danger.”[Source: Ma’an News Agency]