Israel ‘still exhuming remains’ of Palestinians

Maan News Agency | May 27, 2012

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities are still exhuming the bodies of 100 Palestinians to be returned to their families, the spokesman of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday.

Ofir Gendelman told Ma’an the process takes time and a final date to return the bodies has not been set.

On May 23, Israeli authorities began exhuming the bodies of Palestinians interred in numbered graves in Israel following an agreement between Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu agreed to return some of the hundreds of bodies held by Israel as a “gesture” to the president, Gendelman said earlier in May.

The PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh told Ma’an on Wednesday that his ministry would ensure the bodies were exhumed according to religious rites, and would deliver them to their families for proper burials.

Last July, Israel agreed to release the remains of 84 Palestinians killed since 1967, and the PA civil affairs ministry released a list naming those who would be returned.

But Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak intervened and blocked the transfer hours after Israel’s military confirmed that Netanyahu had approved the return of the bodies.

The national campaign to recover the bodies of Palestinians killed in Israel said Thursday there was no official list naming those that would be returned.


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