Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs.
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949), Article 27
In rulings of the Supreme Court, it was held that the fundamental principle of human dignity – a constitutional right in
In great contrast to the above,
HaMoked is working to return these bodies to the families for burial. In its responses to petitions filed by HaMoked in the High Court of Justice, the state contended that it does not return the bodies as means of deterrence, and because it wishes to use the bodies in negotiating future exchanges. These reasons point out the cynical use
In the course of the petitions filed by HaMoked in the High Court of Justice on this matter, a harsh picture of the treatment given the bodies of the killed Palestinians has come to light. The treatment of the bodies severely violates the provisions of international law relating to the handling of bodies belonging to the enemy, and also violates the army's own orders. Signs in the cemeteries for enemy fallen were defective, and sometimes did not exist at all; burial was done in a negligent and disrespectful manner; bodies were buried in trenches and not individually. In addition to the grave violation of the respect for the dead and their families, these failures and omissions, in many cases, have made locating and identifying the bodies almost impossible.
At the end of 2004, the policy changed; it was decided that except for exceptional cases (the grounds of which have not been stated) bodies will be returned to the families. The state imposes a condition: scientific identification is required. In most instances, this involves a DNA test, the high cost of which must be borne by the family. Even if this demand is legitimate, and limits the chance of error, it is hard not to get the impression that there is a double standard at play. In many cases, there is no problem in identifying the body from the start, based on “administrative evidence,” such as a declaration of an organization that the person killed was one of its members, or documents found on the body. In many cases, the state has demolished the house of Palestinians who died in an attack. The demolition did not require any scientific identification. Now, however, before a body is handed over to the family, the state demands a scientific identification.