- Title: WEST BANK: Palestinians hold funeral for militant's remains
- Date: 20th January 2014
- Summary: JENIN, WEST BANK (JANUARY 20, 2014) (REUTERS-ACCESS ALL) PEOPLE MOVING COFFIN INTO HOUSE MAN CHANTING PEOPLE AROUND COFFIN WOMEN CRYING POSTER WITH PHOTO OF MAJDI KHENFER, KILLED IN A FIREFIGHT IN 2002 (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FATHER OF MAJDI KHENFER, ABED AL-JAWAD, SAYING: "I hope that all the remains will be returned and all the prisoners will be released, especially the sick ones because they suffer from very tough situations." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE CHANTING DURING FUNERAL PROCESSION CHILD HOLDING POSTER (SOUNBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF THE JERUSALEM LEGAL AID AND HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE, ESAM AL-AROURI, SAYING: "For us today is a mixture of sadness, happiness and anger: we are happy because the patience of the martyr's family has reached its end and they can bury their son in a respectful way. We are angry because the feeling of loss is back 12 years after his death, just as if he died yesterday. We are angry about this unethical and illegal process as hundreds of families of martyrs suffer from it." MILITANTS SHOOTING IN THE AIR FUNERAL IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 4th February 2014 12:00
- Location: West bank
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflict,International Relations,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAE7GY7ZI6IHWNUXGZZ62XEU4LN
- Story Text: Palestinians hold a funeral for a militant killed in 2002, after Israel returns his body in what it describes as a 'humanitarian gesture'.
Hundreds joined a funeral procession in the West Bank city of Jenin on Monday (January 20), as the remains of a militant killed over a decade ago were finally laid to rest.
The body of Majdi Khenfer, killed in a firefight in 2002, was transferred to his family on Sunday (January 19). Israel's army says it has begun to exhume the remains of a number of Palestinian militants to return them to their families for burial.
Khenfer's father, Abed al-Jawad, said his son's remains were returned to the family on the same date that he was born.
"I hope that all the remains will be returned and all the prisoners will be released, especially the sick ones because they suffer from very tough situations," he said.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority are currently locked in peace talks being mediated by the United States that are showing scant signs of progress.
Israel has over many years interred the bodies of militants killed in attacks on Israelis at special cemeteries. It has returned them sporadically, usually as part of amnesties or prisoner exchanges.
A Palestinian activist and head of the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre, Esam al-Arouri, who is part of a group that campaigns for the return of bodies, said the remains of 36 militants would be handed over for reburial.
The return of Majdi Khenfer's remains prompted a range of emotions, he said.
"For us today is a mixture of sadness, happiness and anger: we are happy because the patience of the martyr's family has reached its end and they can bury their son in a respectful way. We are angry because the feeling of loss is back 12 years after his death, just as if he died yesterday. We are angry about this unethical and illegal process as hundreds of families of martyrs suffer from it," he said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman declined to specify the number of bodies being returned or the identities of the dead and said the move followed an Israeli court ruling.
In 2012, in a gesture aimed at helping to restart peace talks, Israel returned the remains of 91 Palestinian militants who it said had killed hundreds of Israelis over a period spanning four decades.
As part of the current talks, which got under way in July, Israel has freed 76 Palestinians from detention, many of whom were accused of killing Israelis. It is set to release another 26 in the coming weeks.
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