RAMALLAH, August 28, 2011 (WAFA) – Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, Sunday said that Israel is the largest international trade center for body parts, due to its continuous trafficking of the remains of Palestinian bodies, which are held by the Israeli government.
During a speech he delivered in the national day of the Campaign to Recover the Remains of Palestinians and Arabs from Israel, as well as to reveal the fate of missing persons in Israel, Qaraqe said Israel is violating the international law, agreements and norms by continuing to withhold the remains of Palestinians, which is what he called a 'heinous crime'.
He called to activate the Arab League resolutions in 2009, which demanded to investigate the Israeli crimes, take legal actions against the occupation and address this issue in the United Nations Human Rights report.
'Israel is withholding the remains of the murdered to avenge them and their families, as well as to cover up crimes against their bodies to escape legal accountability,' he added.
Ali Khashan, the minister of justice, attended the national day and said that there's no legal or humanitarian reason to withhold remains of the dead, considering all the Israeli political excuses as 'flimsy'.
He stressed the issue as a 'distinct humanitarian cause,' which strips away the Palestinian dead rights of a dignified burial in accordance to religious ceremonies and traditions.
Khashan said that other Arab states are preparing legal files to pursue the retrieval of their citizens' remains from Israel.
General-Director of Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights organization, Issam Abu al-Haj, said that the campaign, in cooperation with ministries of justice and prisoners, documented 338 cases of Israel's withholding remains of Palestinians and Arabs.Abu al-Haj questioned the International Red Cross' silence on the matter and refused Israel's attempts to put the issue to negotiations, despite the fact that the campaign was able to force Israel to admit to large numbers of Palestinian and Arab dead.