Israel admits ‘holding’ Palestinian’s body

Israel admits ‘holding’ Palestinian’s body
Palestinians run away from tear gas fired by Israeli forces during a protest against Jewish settlements, near Nablus in the West Bank on Friday. (Reuters)
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Updated 10 October 2020

Israel admits ‘holding’ Palestinian’s body

Israel admits ‘holding’ Palestinian’s body
  • The family of Hamidi, from the village of Beit Lid, close to the Israeli settlement at Einav, have refused to receive condolence visits until his body is returned

JERUSALEM: The Israeli Army said on Friday it was holding the body of a Palestinian shot dead in a West Bank clash earlier this week, ending days of uncertainty over his fate.
The announcement follows a policy change last month in which Israel said it would not return the bodies of any Palestinian killed during or as a result of an anti-Israeli attack.
On Monday, 27-year-old Palestinian Samir Hamidi was killed by Israeli soldiers near the northern West Bank settlement of Einav after allegedly throwing petrol bombs.
“Troops spotted three assailants who hurled Molotov cocktails at them,” the army said on Friday. “The troops responded with fire.”
In an initial statement on Monday, the army had not mentioned Hamidi was killed, but his death was then reported by Palestinian media.
On Friday, after repeated requests including from AFP, the army named him.
“The body of the terrorist is being held by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) according to existing procedures, until a decision is made in accordance with the guidance from elected officials on the issue of holding the bodies of terrorists,” the army statement added.
The family of Hamidi, from the village of Beit Lid, close to the Israeli settlement at Einav, have refused to receive condolence visits until his body is returned.

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The family of Hamidi, from the village of Beit Lid, close to the Israeli settlement at Einav, have refused to receive condolence visits until his body is returned.

Hamidi is reported to have been released from an Israeli prison in 2018, after a 40-month term for throwing stones and petrol bombs at Israeli traffic.
Security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been at a standstill since May, in protest over Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank, a move since suspended.
Palestinian government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem told AFP that in “the absence of any coordination,” they were told of Hamid’s death by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
In early September, Israel said it would withhold the bodies of all slain Palestinian militants.
Prior to the decision, Israel retained only the bodies of militants from Hamas, the rulers of Gaza.
At the time, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the policy change was part of a broader campaign of “deterrence.”
Rula Shadeed, of Palestinian rights group Al-Haq, said the policy was “part of the collective punishment inflicted on the Palestinian people, contrary to international law.”
Palestinian campaigners demanding the return of the remains of “martyrs” claim that Israel has been holding in storage the bodies of at least 66 Palestinians, and has buried 254 others since 2015.
In August, before the new policy was announced, 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Hamdan died after he was shot in clashes in the West Bank village of Deir Abu Mishaal, a village leader said. His body has not been returned to his family.


US designates Bahrain, UAE ‘major security partners’

US designates Bahrain, UAE ‘major security partners’
Updated 37 min 31 sec ago

US designates Bahrain, UAE ‘major security partners’

US designates Bahrain, UAE ‘major security partners’
  • Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and hostssome 5,000 American troops
  • UAE hosts 3,500 US troops and its Jebel Ali port is the busiest port of call for American warships outside of the US

DUBAI: The US called Bahrain and the UAE “major security partners” early on Saturday, a previously unheard of designation for the two countries home to major American military operations.
A White House statement tied the designation to Bahrain and the UAE normalizing ties to Israel, saying it “reflects their extraordinary courage, determination and leadership.” It also noted the two countries long have taken part in US military exercises.
It’s unclear what the designation means for Bahrain and the UAE.
Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, while the UAE’s Jebel Ali port is the busiest port of call for American warships outside of the US. Bahrain hosts some 5,000 American troops, while the UAE hosts 3,500, many at Al-Dhafra Air Base.
Already, the US uses the designation of “major non-NATO ally” to describe its relationship with Kuwait, which hosts the forward command of US Army Central. That designation grants a country special financial and military considerations for nations not part of NATO. Bahrain also is a non-NATO ally.
The US military’s Central Command and the Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The 5th Fleet referred queries to the State Department, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The White House designation comes in the final days of President Donald Trump’s administration.
Trump forged close ties to Gulf Arab countries during his time in office in part over his hard-line stance on Iran.
That’s sparked a series of escalating incidents between the countries after Trump unilaterally withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
It also comes after Bahrain and the UAE joined Egypt and Saudi Arabia in beginning to resolve a yearslong boycott of Qatar, that houses Al-Udeid Air Base.