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You are here News Human Rights In light of Shalit swap, 29 Palestinian women demand Israel return bodies of family members

In light of Shalit swap, 29 Palestinian women demand Israel return bodies of family members

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Palestinian women ask for bodies Following the release of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, 29 Palestinian women have demanded Israel return bodies of their family members currently in Israel's possession.

Since 1967, Israel has held about 180 bodies of Palestinians killed in various clashes, and those of suicide bombers. Most of the bodies are held in a cemetery for enemy combatants, near Adam Bridge in the Jordan Valley.

A decade ago, a number of families petitioned the High Court of Justice demanding the return of Palestinian bodies. At first the state agreed, subject to an identification process. But after Shalit was abducted to the Gaza Strip, the state changed its stance and said the bodies would not be returned for they were bargaining chips in the negotiations for the soldier's release.

In July, the bodies caused a minor storm after the Palestinian Authority announced it had reached an agreement with Israel to release the bodies as a gesture for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Israel succumbed to pressure of criticism over the impending gesture and cancelled the bodies' return.

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