The Media Line led over twenty years ago in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Look out for exciting new additions as we enter 2022.

We thank our loyal readers and wish you all the happiest of holidays.
The Media Line

Non-profit news needs public support.
Please support us with your generous contributions:
Israel to Stop Returning Palestinian Security Prisoners’ Bodies for Burial
Israeli soldiers exhume the body of a security prisoner in advance of a prisoner exchange. Other bodies remain buried in graves marked with numbers in the Enemy Graveyard, near Kibbutz Amiad in northern Israel, January 2004. (David Silverman/Getty Images)

Israel to Stop Returning Palestinian Security Prisoners’ Bodies for Burial

Move seen as giving bargaining chip to trade for captive Israelis and Israeli bodies

Newly appointed Israeli interim Defense Minister Naftali Bennett introduced on Wednesday a major policy change and ordered a stop to the return of bodies of Palestinian security prisoners regardless of their factional affiliation.

The decision will only take effect after the approval of the Security Cabinet.

A statement by the ministry said the decision was made following discussions with high-ranking security officials, adding that the policy would still allow for “exceptional cases” at the defense minister’s discretion.

Palestinians swiftly reacted to the news. The chairman of the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission, Qadri Abu Bakr, told The Media Line that the change in policy was unfair to the families.

“This is a policy of collective punishment practiced against the families of martyrs. As if his imprisonment and house demolition weren’t enough, now they want to keep the bodies?” wondered Abu Bakr. “They [Israel] want to punish him after his death by not handing over his body to his family for burial.”

The Gaza-based Hamas organization is widely believed to be holding the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, in addition to two Israeli civilians. Reports of a possible swap between Israel and Hamas are often discussed, and many say the change would give Israel bargaining chips in a future deal.

The family of soldier Hadar Goldin welcomed the news. It has been aggressively pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to work for the return of their son’s remains.

“We are supporting the defense minister’s decision. It is inconceivable that while the soldiers are in the hands of Hamas, we will continue to release dead or living terrorists. Freeing terrorists is a prize that Hamas cannot be given while holding on to our soldiers and civilians,” they said.

Hassan Abd Rabbo, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority Prisoners Affairs Commission, told The Media Line that Bennett’s decision went against international law.

“This racist and immoral decision contradicts the Geneva Conventions. The detention of these martyrs is a violation of all these moral and humanitarian laws. Their families deserve to bury their loved ones.”

Some argue that the new policy will be part of a broader deterrence policy against future attacks on Israelis. Gonen Ben-Yitzhak, a former Shin Bet operative, doesn’t see it that way. He told The Media Line that this new policy would not work.

“I don’t like the fact that bodies are part of the Middle East bazaar. The fact that Israel is following Hamas’ steps in using this humanitarian issue of holding dead bodies to gain political benefit is wrong.”

Ben-Yitzhak said this would make the situation worse and create a body-grabbing race.

“Now we’ll start a body war. Palestinians will try to get more Israeli bodies, and we’ll try to get Hamas bodies and then start bargaining. I think it’s a mistake.”

Ben-Yitzhak added that the decision was politically motivated and would harm Israel’s image.

“If Israel wants to claim that the morality of the Israeli people is higher than that of Hamas, how come Israel is following Hamas in this. If we say we are different, we should act differently.

“The new defense minister wants to show that his new policy is completely different. Bennett is using this to advance his political agenda and purposes,” Ben-Yitzhak said.

Last September, Israel’s Supreme Court reversed an earlier ruling that said the state had no authority to hold on to the remains of Palestinians and that they must be immediately returned to their families for burial.

Under the 2019 ruling, the state may continue to hold bodies as emergency regulations allow for the military to order the interim burial of bodies designated as deceased enemies based on considerations of state security and the need to negotiate for the return of missing Israeli soldiers.

Did you know we’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary as the 1st American News Agency exclusively covering the Middle East?

  • The Middle East landscape is changing rapidly.
  • The roads in the region open to new possibilities.
  • The Media Line continues to pave the way to a far greater understanding of the region’s land, people, policies and governments through our trusted, fact-based news.

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Please make your gift today.
Thank you!

We paved the way to be the Trusted Mid East News you can rely on!

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.