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HaMoked to the HCJ: instruct the military to disclose the procedures on the treatment and burial of Palestinians’ bodies, formulated during 1971-1998 and mentioned by the official inquiry commission of 1999

On August 20, 2015, HaMoked sent the military a freedom-of-information application, asking to receive the procedures for the burial of Palestinian fatalities’ bodies held by Israel, and also an update on the implementation of the recommendations of the Arditi Inquiry Commission, appointed to review the issue in 1999 by the chief of the general staff at the time. HaMoked asked for the relevant orders and regulations traced by the Commission, as well as all existing orders and regulations relating to the bodies of Palestinian fatalities. This, in attempt to shed light on the state’s handling of such bodies over the years, and the attendant failures which led to the “disappearance” of many bodies.

More than six months later – and only after HaMoked petitioned the court on the matter – the military delivered to HaMoked the current valid orders for handling the Palestinians' bodies. Regarding the request for the old orders and procedures mentioned in the Arditi Commission report, the military said HaMoked should contact the official military archive. On June 20, 2017, the military archive rejected HaMoked request, on the grounds that “this is classified material with security sensitivity”, and that “these are current and relevant materials, of the last two decades and their influence … is still significant”.

Therefore, on July 27, 2017, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ), to compel the disclosure of the requested documents. HaMoked argued that there was no basis or reason for the contention that transferring the old orders, dating back to 1971-1998, could threaten state security, when the current valid orders had already been given to HaMoked. HaMoked added that it seemed the state was clinging to this absurd contention to obscure and cover up its failures in handling the bodies; further, that the right to know – underlying the petition – was a basic right and one of the foundations of a free and democratic society. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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