Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan is proposing a new law that would allow the police to hold the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israel forces until families of the deceased agree to police-imposed restrictions on funeral arrangements.
Erdan’s move comes in the wake of a precedent-setting ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court made this past July on a petition filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – that police have no legal authority to hold a body or make its return to the family of the deceased conditional upon the family’s agreement to funeral restrictions.
Adalah issued a statement in response to Erdan’s proposed law: “The holding of bodies and prevention of immediate burial is a violation of both Israeli and international law. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in a precedent-setting decision four months ago that the holding of bodies and conditioning their return constitute a severe insult to human dignity. The United Nations Committee against Torture has ruled that Israel is forbidden to hold and negotiate the terms of the return of bodies of Palestinians. There is nothing in constitutional or human rights law anywhere in the world that resembles Erdan’s proposed legislation.”
According to Adalah: “The only circumstances in which it is permitted to hold bodies is when the conditions of ongoing warfare do not permit their safe transfer. However, states are obligated to immediately return the bodies of casualties the moment a cease-fire goes into effect. Minister Erdan’s proposed law politicizes a humanitarian issue, and Adalah calls on Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to vigorously oppose this bill.”