20th March 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus Team | Asira al-Qibliya, Occupied Palestine
In June 2002, Israeli soldiers assassinated 18-year-old Ahmad Saleh from the village of Asira al-Qibliya after he entered the illegal settlement of Yizhar.
Ahmad’s body was then convicted post mortem to be held for 20 years by the Israeli authorities. Today, twelve years later, the body was given back to the family and was finally able to be buried with dignity.
Two other martyrs’ bodies were also returned to their families yesterday and their funerals began in the morning from a local hospital in Nablus, and continued on to the centre of the city. The funeral procession for Ahmad Saleh continued to his home village of Asira al-Qibliya, with approximately 700 Palestinians in attendance.
For the past 12 years the martyrs’ bodies have been held inside one of the ‘cemeteries of numbers’, which are secret cemeteries in closed military areas with bare graves surrounded by stones. Each ‘grave’ has only an identification number on a metal plate; family members are not allowed to visit.
There are at least 300 known Palestinian martyrs from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip whose bodies are withheld within one of these ‘cemeteries of numbers’, with more remaining in Israeli morgues.