Human Rights

Gaza’s Missing Martyrs: The Occupation’s Gruesome Theft

Unearthing the Truth: The Occupation's Theft and Desecration of Palestinian Martyrs

In early February, following the Israeli occupation’s control over parts of Khan Younis, medical teams were forced to create a mass grave in the courtyard of the Nasser Medical Complex to accommodate the large number of martyrs. The siege laid by the occupation around the complex prevented the medical staff and displaced persons from leaving, leading to the bodies piling up under strict conditions. This resulted in the bodies being placed in side sections and covered, especially during the last days of the siege, when the hospital management and the displaced were unable to bury the dead due to snipers and direct bombardment.

The Israeli army acknowledged through Hebrew media that it had taken about 400 bodies during its raid on the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, committing massacres against the displaced and patients inside the hospital. These bodies were found not to include any of the Israeli prisoners held by Palestinian resistance.

The bodies of martyrs returned by the occupation were buried (Said Khatib/AFP)

On the morning of Thursday, March 7, the occupation returned 47 bodies through the Kerem Shalom crossing southeast of Rafah, covered in blue bags. Many of the displaced, hoping to find their relatives among these bodies, were shocked by the inability to identify them due to the bodies being disfigured or decomposed, some even showing signs of autopsy.

The occupation’s action of exhuming about 1,800 graves across the Gaza Strip, including official and makeshift graves made during the aggression to cover a large number of martyrs, points to a systematic theft of bodies. The government media office in Gaza has indicated that the occupation, during its repeated grave diggings, stole bodies as it had previously done in the cemetery of Jabalia town and camp. Hundreds of martyrs’ bodies from the Gaza Strip are still being held by the occupation, with their exact number unknown.

The director of the government media office in Gaza, Ismail al-Thawabteh, stated that the bodies returned by the occupation showed unnatural disfigurements. After examination by medical teams at Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital, it is believed that the purpose behind these disfigurements was the theft of vital organs. The international community’s silence and the Red Cross’s failure to document the receipt of these bodies and demand Israel disclose the location of their theft and if alterations were made to them is disgraceful.

The bodies were buried in a mass grave in Rafah (Said KhatibAFP)

This report highlights the continued violations of international law by the Israeli occupation in Gaza, including the theft and desecration of Palestinian martyrs’ bodies. It underscores the urgent need for global attention and action to address these atrocities and support the Palestinian people’s fight for justice and dignity.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed

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