Barak suspends talks on transfer of Palestinian bodies

After IDF confirms gov't plan, defense minister says some names on the 84-person list could undermine efforts to release Schalit.

By
July 5, 2011 00:47
1 minute read.
Barak

Barak 58 reuters. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak suspended Monday all talks with the Palestinian Authority over the transfer of the bodies of 84 Palestinians.

Barak said that he was concerned that the some of the Palestinians on the list could undermine efforts to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit. 
According to Israeli media, two of the names on the list were of Hamas members.

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Earlier Monday, Israeli officials said that Israel would transfer the bodies of 84 Palestinians and other Arabs in the coming weeks as a gesture to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The identities of the 84 corpses were not revealed and officials said they were to be taken from a cemetery near Allenby Bridge where some 150 bodies of Palestinians killed since the Six Day War are buried.

Some reports claimed that the among those slated to be transferred to the PA were the bodies of suicide bombers including that of Ramaz Aslim, who blew himself up in Café Hillel in Jerusalem’s German Colony on September 9, 2003, killing seven people and wounding more than 50, and that of Hanadi Jaradat, the 29-year-old woman who blew herself up in the Maxim restaurant in Haifa on October 4, 2003, killing 21 people and wounding 51.

Details of the gesture were finalized last week and approved by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The process is expected to take some time since the bodies will need to exhumed from the cemetery and then identified.

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News of the move was revealed on Monday by PA Civil Affairs Minister Hussein a-Sheikh in an interview with the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency.

Sheikh said that the PA would coordinate the final transfer of the corpses to cemeteries within Palestinian- controlled territories and in Arab countries as needed.

He said that Israel was in possession of 102 bodies of Palestinians and Arabs and that the current transfer was the first stage in a larger deal.

The decision to transfer the bodies to the PA is not believed to be connected to negotiations for the release of Gilad Schalit but is rather an Israeli gesture to Abbas ahead of Ramadan, which is to run from August 1 to 29.

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