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The military failed to trace the bodies of three deceased Palestinians Israel has been withholding for the past 13 years: HaMoked petitions the court over the state’s refusal to provide information to the families

Given Israel's outrageous conduct in handling the bodies of Palestinians in its possession and the many failures in tracing them, HaMoked petitioned the court on several occasions for the return of the bodies to the families for proper burial. In the framework of HaMoked’s petitions on behalf of three families whose sons’ bodies had been held by Israel since the second intifada, the state announced in November 2014, that “the possibilities of tracing [the three missing bodies] have been exhausted, and therefore, it is impossible in practice to return them to the families”.

Following the petitions, on March 23, 2016, HaMoked sent a freedom-of-information application to the national forensic institute concerning the three bodies. For months HaMoked received no response to its request to receive the relevant documents, despite the fact that in previous correspondence it was reported that the documents were kept at the institute, and contrary to the authorities’ duty to respond to applications under the Freedom of Information Law within 30 days.

Therefore, on August 10, 2016, HaMoked petitioned the Jerusalem District Court to instruct the forensic institute to provide the requested information. HaMoked stressed the unique importance of the information for the deceased’s families, who are impelled to continue searching for the untraced bodies. HaMoked also noted the public importance in exposing the authorities’ conduct which led to the disappearance of the bodies of the three Palestinians.

In the hearing held on December 1, 2016, at the court’s recommendation, the state agreed to give HaMoked the requested materials, subject to prior approval of the relevant security officials. The state undertook to update the court on the progress in handling the matter by January 1, 2017. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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