Israel to return body of slain 18-year-old Palestinian girl after 7 months

Israeli authorities decided on Thursday to return the body of 18-year-old Majd al-Khadour to her family for burial in the southern occupied West Bank Hebron-area town of Bani Naim on Friday.

Member of the National Committee for Returning Bodies of Martyrs, Amin al-Bayid, told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli authorities informed them that the body of al-Khadour would be returned on Friday, though the time of her release remained unclear.

Al-Khadour was shot and killed by Israeli forces on June 24 after they alleged that the teen attempted to carry out a vehicular attack after her car crashed into a stationary vehicle, lightly injuring two Israelis near the entrance of the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement.

The circumstances of the incident were contested at the time, with some Palestinian social media outlets reporting that eyewitnesses told them the incident appeared to be a car accident, not a premeditated attack.

Video released by Palestinian media of the incident, however, appear to show the car speeding towards a small junction popular for hitchhikers which usually has Israeli military personnel stationed there.

Israeli authorities also announced Thursday that on Friday they would be returning the body of Nidal Daoud Mahdawi, 44, to his family in Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank after it was held by the Israeli government for 10 days.

Mahdawi was shot and killed by Israeli forces on January 17 after he allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack at a Tulkarem-area checkpoint.

Al-Khadour and Mahdawi were among 254 Palestinians to be killed by Israeli forces since a wave of unrest across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel began in October 2015, according to Ma’an documentation.

Amid the violence, Israeli authorities dramatically escalated a policy of withholding Palestinian bodies killed by Israeli forces under the claim that funerals of Palestinians had provided grounds for “incitement” against the Israeli state.

A joint statement released by Addameer and Israeli minority rights group Adalah in March condemned Israel’s practice of withholding bodies as “a severe violation of the international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law, including violations of the right to dignity, freedom of religion, and the right to practice culture.”

PLO official Saeb Erekat has also urged the international community to pressure Israel to release Palestinian bodies held by Israeli, saying: “Israel’s collective punishments are now being carried out against the living and the dead.”