Israeli Court Delays Release of Body of Gaza Fisherman Killed by Navy Forces

Judge orders state to hold up transfer of body until petition by family who son's body is held in Gaza is heard

The High Court of Justice issued an order Thursday that the state not return the body of an 18-year-old Palestinian who was killed by Israeli forces last week. Justice Neal Hendel ordered the handover of his remains be held up until a petition is heard on the subject.

Ismail Salah Abu Rialeh was shot dead when Israeli navy forces fired on a boat off the north Gaza coast.

The army says the boat had sailed beyond the permissible fishing zone. The Navy force called on the three Gazan fishermen on the boat to halt, then fired into the air, then fired toward the boat.

The petition was filed by the Goldin family, who son Lt. Hadar Goldin is one of two fallen Israeli soldiers in the 2014 Gaza war whose bodies Hamas is thought to be still holding.

In mid-December the court ruled that the state may not hold onto bodies of terrorists for negotiating purposes, since there is no specific, explicit legal basis permitting the state to do so.

Palestinian fishermen pull at their net near to the beach in Gaza City February 5, 2018.
\ MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS

The state could enact a law that would comply with Israeli and international law, the court ruled.

Later that month the security cabinet urged the High Court to revisit its ruling. Israel has the prerogative of holding onto bodies, the cabinet ministers stated, adding that the principles set forth in the majority opinion of the justices are unacceptable.