Israel is admitting that it lost track on the remains of at least seven Palestinian terrorists who died in the Second Intifada, after relatives of the deceased filed a petition in the country’s High Court of Justice.
“The truth must be told: The traces of some of the bodies have been lost,” an unnamed official in Israel’s Justice Ministry told Haaretz. “The task right now is to sit all the officials down and decide who’s in charge.”
That number could also climb, with family members of dead terrorists having made claims for 123 bodies in different appeals to the court, with only two remains returned so far. Discussions within the government are underway to determine whether the Justice Ministry or the Prime Minister’s Office should take up the matter.
According to the Justice staffer, whoever receives the task will have their work cut out for them, as many state interment documents have been shredded and at least one burial contractor Israeli authorities used has gone out of business over the past two decades.
Dalia Kirshstein, head of the activist Center for the Defense of the Individual, compared the loss of Palestinian bodies to the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries.
“Every smashed Jewish gravestone around the world raises a hue and a cry in Israel, but when it comes to dozens of bodies of Palestinians that disappeared, there’s complete silence. We hope the state will take responsibility and locate the bodies. We are sure it’s possible,” she told Haaretz.