[Thursday, December 19, 2013] Israel said that it would be handing over, to the Palestinian Authority (P.A) in the West Bank, the remains of 36 Palestinians buried in the Numbers Graveyard. PA sources said Tel Aviv never officially informed it of this decision.Salem Khalla, coordinator of the National Committee for retrieving bodies of slain Palestinians, said that Israel intends to do DNA testing on the remains for verification.
Khalla added that Israel exhumed the bodies of 30 slain Palestinians, buried in Be’er As-Sabe’ (Beersheba), on Wednesday, and will be exhuming the bodies of six more Palestinians, buried in an unspecified graveyard, before DNS tests are conducted by the beginning of next month.
He said that the remains will likely be handed over to the Palestinians on January 7, and that the Palestinians will not accept unidentified remains, to avoid what happened months ago, when Israel handed over Palestinian remains, including six unidentified remains that were left unidentified, until this moment.
Israeli sources said that the decision was made by the Israeli government, and is part of an Israeli pledge to the High Court to gradually hand over the remains of all Palestinians buried in several ‘Numbers Graveyards’, where graves only carry numbers attached to them.
Families of slain Palestinians already submitted DNA samples so that Israel can compare them to its database of slain Palestinians.
On Thursday, May 21 2012, the Palestinian Authority (P.A) in the West Bank held an official burial ceremony for 91 Palestinians who have been buried in the Numbers Graveyard, after Tel Aviv handed over the remains to the P.A.