[Ed. note – Imagine if your loved one is killed. The body is held for 65 days. To get it back you have to agree to hold the funeral at a certain specified time. The only people allowed to attend are those on a list approved by the killers. Oh yes, and to get the body back from the killers, you must also pay them $5,150 as “collateral.” At the time the funeral is held, the killers are there–they show up, right there at the funeral of your loved one! To confiscate all cell phones and cameras of mourners coming to pay their last respects.
Israel claims to be imposing such conditions in order to prevent funerals from being turned into political protests. But of course, holding bodies for weeks on end also allows plenty of time to harvest organs–and specifying when the funeral must take place after the body finally is returned, as well as who is allowed or not allowed to attend, practically precludes any possibility of an autopsy. Not a single US official, to my knowledge, has voiced a peep of protest against this odious practice of holding bodies for extended periods of time. And of course, it goes without saying no one has broached the issue of organ harvesting, for to do so would immediately result in one’s being smeared with the charge of “blood libel” and “anti-Semitism”–as happened to the Palestinian observer at the UNwhen he dared raise the matter back in November.
Israel certainly has a history of organ trafficking, but even if that’s not the modus operandi behind the current practice of cadaver hoarding, still it’s incumbent upon us to ask ourselves: Does any other country in the world have an official policy of refusing to turn over bodies to grieving families? None that I’m aware of.
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…”Those are the opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. It makes no mention of organ harvesting. Maybe it should have. But in reading over its preamble and its subsequent 30 articles, one kind of gets the feeling that no one back then could reasonably have conceived of or imagined the coming into existence of a state quite like Israel.]
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli intelligence handed over the body of Musab Mahmoud al-Ghazali to his family for him to be buried on Sunday night, 65 days after he was killed by Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem.
Al-Ghazali, a 26-year-old Palestinian from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, was shot dead on Dec. 26 after Israeli police say he pulled a knife on an officer in Allenby Square in Jerusalem.
However, a witness on the scene said that al-Ghazali had not been holding a knife when he was killed.
Al-Ghazali’s family said at the time that the young man suffered from mental disabilities, and denied that he would have carried out an attack. They accused Israeli forces of “executing him in cold blood.”
Al-Ghazali’s body was returned to its family entirely covered in ice due to being kept refrigerated in Israeli custody.
“The family committed to the conditions but Israel did not,” al-Ghazali’s uncle, Majd al-Ghazali, told Ma’an. “The family asked for them to take the body out of the morgue 24 to 48 hours before handing over the body so the ice would melt, but we were shocked that the ice was still on Musab’s body.”
A lawyer for prisoners rights organization Addameer said only 30 people were allowed to attend al-Ghazali’s funeral, which was held with Israeli police and army forces deployed in the area.
Al-Ghazali’s sister, 22-year-old Rawan, was prevented from attending the funeral, as her name was allegedly not mentioned in the list of people allowed to be at the funeral.
“Israel is using the chaos as an excuse that is why they handed him over after midnight, with a list with only 30 attending,” al-Ghazali’s uncle said.
Israeli authorities also prevented any video recording or photography of the body, and seized the cell phones of people attending the funeral, the lawyer added.
Israeli authorities had announced that they would release al-Ghazali’s body three weeks earlier, on Feb. 6.
Al-Ghazali’s family had to comply with strict conditions regarding the time and size of the funeral, as well pay 20,000 shekels ($5,150) as collateral, before Israel released the body. Similar preconditions have been set on the families of other Palestinians whose relatives’ bodies were held by Israeli authorities.
Since a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory at the beginning of October, Israel has routinely held the bodies of Palestinians it says were attempting to attack Israelis.
Israel’s Public Security Ministry said in mid-October that the bodies of alleged Palestinians attackers would no longer be returned to their families and would instead by buried in “secret.”
A spokesperson for the ministry said at the time the decision was made in order to stem protests that frequently accompany the funerals of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.
However, Israel’s withholding of bodies has only further stoked tensions in the occupied Palestinian territory, and Israeli authorities have since returned many of them of them to their families, on what they refer to as a “case-by-case” basis.
In January, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat called on the Middle East Quartet to pressure Israel to return the bodies of alleged Palestinian attackers still being held by the Israeli authorities.
He said that withholding the bodies of Palestinians was a form of “collective punishment” by Israel against the Palestinian people, which he described as illegal under international law.