- Published on Thursday, 31 May 2012 11:19
After years of having been buried in the Israeli cemetery of "numbers," Israel returned the remains of 91 martyrs to Ramallah and Gaza on Thursday.
According to Israeli sources, the remains of 91 Palestinian fighters were returned to the Palestinian Authority this morning. They had been buried in the fabled cemetery in which graves are not marked with the names of the dead but rather with numbers to punish the dead and their families for their sacrifice.
The Minister of Civil Affairs, Hussein al-Sheikh, confirmed Thursday that the Authority received the remains of the 91 martyrs, and affirmed that they are undertaking necessary procedures in order to return the remains to their families.
Al-Sheikh also confirmed that the remains of 12 martyrs are on their way to the Gaza Strip and that 79 martyrs arrived at the headquarters of the province in Ramallah, where the bodies were transferred via Palestinian trucks. There will be an official reception for them in the presence of President Mahmoud Abbas and a number of other public figures.
Al-Sheikh stated that the once this first return of remains of the martyrs is complete, work will begin on the necessary procedures to achieve the return of a second group of remains, though he noted that such undertakings require complex technical and medical procedures.
Among the martyrs whose remains are being moved are martyrs who carried out a number of operations in the past decade in Jerusalem and the military base in Sarafand near Be'er Sheba, in addition to the 7 martyrs who committed the Savoy Hotel attack in Tel Aviv in 1975.
According to the Hebrew radio reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to undertake this step as a gesture of good will in preparation for the resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians. It is expected that Israel will return the remains of dozens of other martyrs to the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks.
Almagor Terror Victims Association, an Israeli organization for those who have been affected by terrorism, made a petition to the High Court of Justice requesting the postponement of the transfer of the remains of the martyrs.