Ramallah, West Bank (AP)-Israeli officials confirmed on Saturday that they had successfully returned a 14-year-old Palestinian after erroneously returning another body to the boy’s family the night before Remains. Amjad Abu Sultan was killed last month when a firebomb was allegedly dropped in the occupied West Bank.
After the bodies were handed over to the Palestinians at an Israeli military checkpoint near the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank, about a dozen Palestinians chanted “Salute to the martyrs.” They wrapped the remains in a Palestinian flag, and an ambulance took the remains away.
Friday’s mistake was described by the military as an “unfortunate mistake”, drawing more attention to Israel’s controversial policy of detaining the remains of Palestinians allegedly killed during the attack. Israel stated that the policy could deter future attacks and exchange prisoners, while human rights organizations stated that this action was a form of collective punishment for grieving families.
On Friday, Israel agreed to return the bodies of Abu Sultan and Hazmiyah on “humanitarian reasons.” Abu Sultan was a minor at the time of the alleged attack, and Isra Khazimia reportedly had mental health problems.
Earlier Saturday, Amjad’s father told the Associated Press that when the body was received at a checkpoint near Bethlehem, the family informed the army of the mistake.
“My son is 14 years old, and the other body is a 30 or 40 year old child,” Ussama Abu Sultan said. The identity of the other body remains unknown.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Israeli army apologized for its “unfortunate error” and said it was reviewing the error.
The military said that 14-year-old Abu Sultan was killed in October while trying to throw a fire bomb at a car near an Israeli settlement. Khazimia was shot dead by Israeli police in September, who allegedly attempted to stabbing an officer in the Old City of Jerusalem. Her body was buried in Qabatiya, her home village in the northern West Bank on Saturday.
Israel has long traded prisoners and corpses with the enemy, and has made it clear that it intends to retrieve the remains of two Israeli soldiers detained by the Palestinian militant group Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip.
According to the Palestinian Rights Organization Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, Israel is currently detaining approximately 80 Palestinian bodies. Many people were eventually buried in the unnamed ashes of many secret cemeteries. The rights group stated that these are other cases where the Israeli authorities have tried to find or identify the dead bodies of Palestinians.