Israel releases body of Palestinian woman fatally shot

Israeli forces release Palestinian woman's body after withholding for over 40 days
2 min read
24 July, 2021
Israel released the body of Ibtisam Kaabneh, a Palestinian woman who was shot and killed by occupying forces, after withholding it for more than 40 days.
Ibtisam Kaabneh was killed at Qalandia checkpoint [Getty]

Israeli forces released on Friday night the body of a Palestinian mother they shot and killed last month, after holding it hostage for more than 40 days, her family said.

Israeli forces fatally shot Ibtisam Kaabneh, 27, from Jericho, on June 12 at Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, claiming to have stopped an alleged "attempted stabbing attack".

Her body was then withheld to prevent her family from giving her a proper funeral.

The family promptly buried Kaabneh at Aqbat Jabr refugee camp in the city of Jericho on Saturday, WAFA reported.

Kaabneh, who left behind a baby, was detained by Israel in August 2015 and sentenced to 18 months in prison for her anti-occupation activism.

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Withholding corpses, a common tactic by Israel, has been regularly denounced by Palestinians as inhumane, saying it is a form of psychological warfare and collective punishment.

Israel has also been known to keep bodies of killed Palestinians in order to use them as bargaining chips in times of need.

In September 2019, a Palestinian group that campaigns on the behalf of corpses held by Israel wrote to the United Nations Secretary General, urging him to pressure Israel to release corpses of Palestinians.

The National Campaign for Retrieval of the Bodies of Palestinian and Arab War Victims sent a letter to Antonio Guterres, calling on him to take urgent action to release Palestinian corpses.

"Since 1967, Israel has applied an inconsistent policy of refusing to deliver the mortal remains of hundreds of Palestinian combatants to their families," the letter said.

"Israel's ongoing refusal to undertake the necessary process to identify those buried in the cemeteries of numbers violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 2474, which requires member states to prevent individuals from going missing as a result of armed conflict in territories under their jurisdiction," the group added.

Rights groups have also accused Israeli forces of using "unnecessary and excessive force" and carrying out extrajudicial killings against Palestinians.

"Many [Palestinians are] unlawfully killed by live ammunition or other excessive force when posing no imminent threat to life. Some of the unlawful killings appeared to be wilful, which would constitute war crimes," Amnesty International has said.