Palestinian families in search of their sons' uncertain fate
"Israel" maintains silence about the fate of the Palestinians they arrested, refusing to disclose any information to their families.
The Israeli occupation forces are currently withholding the bodies of 93 Palestinians, including seven children and three women since 2014, as well as 254 bodies in Israeli burial sites known as "cemeteries of numbers," the Middle East Eye reported.
Asem Azuri, the Director of the Al-Quds Centre (JLAC), a human rights organization, told the website that "Israel's" intentional policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians is to avoid autopsy that would involve the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Red Cross.
“Detaining bodies and using them as bargaining chips constitutes human trafficking, and is an international crime,” he added.
According to the Middle East Eye, the Rawajba family is unable to figure out whether their son Bilal, 30, is still alive or martyred by the Israeli occupation forces.
Bilal, a father to one daughter, is a legal advisor to the Palestinian Preventive Security Forces (PSF) in Tubas. Eyewitnesses also told the family that an Israeli helicopter flew the injured Bilal from the site.
During an investigation with Bilal's father several hours later, the Shin Bet said Bilal was transferred to a "Tel Aviv" hospital, refusing to release other information about the hospital's name and the man's health condition.
A few hours later, Bilal's father, Adnan, received a phone call saying his son had died, while Bilal's sister, Maha, received another call that refuted the death news.
Where is Bilal?
In the light of Bilal's disappearance, his family has urged the Palestinian Authority to use its coordination with the Israeli occupation to reveal the man's fate.
"The family is demanding that Israel hand over Bilal’s body if he is dead, so that they may bury him. If he is alive, they want to visit him and check up on his health," pointed out the Middle East Eye.
In addition, the family has called on international and local human rights organizations to touch on Bilal's case and is willing to take the case to international courts.
Maha even launched a social media campaign under the hashtag ‘Where Is Bilal?’ (وين_بلال#), to raise awareness on her brother's disappearance case.
No clear information about Saleh
Similarly, the Middle East Eye touched on Saleh Barghouthi's case.
Saleh's mother, Suheir, believes that her son was martyred by the IOF in 2018 near Ramallah, but has no official death certificate to prove her point.
Barghouthi, 29, is a taxi driver believed to have been martyred by the IOF in the village of Surda, north of Ramallah on December 12, 2018, for allegedly carrying out an attack near the "Ofra" settlement that left two soldiers killed and others injured.
“As a mother, I’m living this pain every day, because I want to know what happened to my son,” Suheir told the website.
“I’m prepared to accept that he is dead, but I need to be sure of it by seeing his body and to allow me to bury him, or at least to know where he’s buried," she added.
However, eyewitnesses confirmed that Saleh was wounded and left walking after the IOF arrested him from the location.
“We have not seen Saleh, either martyred, injured, or imprisoned. This created a mystery surrounding his fate,” Suheir told the Middle East Eye.
She concluded that the Israeli occupation policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians and hiding their fate is a form of “collective punishment".