The High Court of Justice on Thursday endorsed the state’s plan to conditionally return nine bodies of east Jerusalem Arab assailants to their families for burial.
Two petitions for return of the nine corpses, filed by Israeli NGOs Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Palestinian NGO the Adameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, had some successes and left some unanswered questions by virtue of the High Court proceedings.
On one hand, the petitions broke a two-week official freeze by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on returning such bodies, got an agreement from the state to remove the bodies from storage freezers 48 hours before transport so that they would not be frozen at burial and won an official court endorsement of the state’s commitment to move faster on handing them over.
On the other hand, the state avoided any commitment to specific deadlines for returning the bodies, even refusing to commit to returning all of them within 30 days, which calls into question whether further delays may lead to another round in court.
Also, the state did not budge on its conditions for transferring the corpses. Prior to the state returning bodies of such assailants it has demanded that families commit to receiving the corpse between midnight and 1:30 a.m., taking it straight to the relevant cemetery, having a maximum of 30 family members present and posting a substantial financial security deposit.