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Almost a year after the war in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014: the military delivered its response to HaMoked's request for further details concerning the remains of Palestinian fatalities from Gaza that are held by Israel

On March 24, 2015, the military delivered its response to HaMoked's freedom of information application concerning the remains of Palestinian fatalities from the Gaza Strip held by the military. The military stated that it had in its possession 19 dead bodies and body parts of Palestinians "from Operation 'Protective Edge'". According to the response, 18 bodies were buried in Israel during the fighting, in July, 2014; and another body was buried in October 2014, some three months after the Israel forces' withdrawal from Gaza. The military did not explain why one body was buried at a separate time, and also refused to reveal the bodies' burial place for "information-security reasons". Regarding the bodies' identity, the military stated that the Military Rabbinate (the religious-services corps) held details that might assist in the identification of the bodies, but stressed that conclusive identification had not been carried out.

On April 1, 2015, HaMoked again contacted the Ministry of Defense for clarifications. HaMoked inquired, inter alia, why there was need to bury body parts; whether the 19 Palestinians whose remains were being held by Israel, had been transported dead to Israel, or whether they had been taken to Israel wounded and eventually died there; and what data did the Military Rabbinate had that might assist in the bodies' identification in future.

On June 23, 2015, the military's response arrived, stating that all 19 Palestinians whose remains were now held by Israel were already dead when transported to Israel. As to the body buried three months after the end of the fighting, the military gave an obscure explanation, whereby "this is a body collected in an incident of significant operational complexity", and that it had been buried once it turned out that "there was no need to hold it for an operational inquiry". The military repeated its vague statement that the Military Rabbinate held data that might facilitate the tracing of the bodies, and stated, simply, that the burial of body parts was due to the fact that these body parts had "reached" Israel. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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