Palestinians bid farewell to Abu Ein

Ramallah shuts down for funeral of Palestinian Authority minister.

THE WIDOW (center), daughter (kneeling) and other relatives of of PA official Ziad Abu Ein attend his funeral in Ramallah (photo credit: REUTERS)
THE WIDOW (center), daughter (kneeling) and other relatives of of PA official Ziad Abu Ein attend his funeral in Ramallah
(photo credit: REUTERS)
RAMALLAH – Stores were closed, Christmas lights turned off and schools canceled in Ramallah on Thursday. A general strike had been announced and a three-day mourning period declared after the death of senior Palestinian official Ziad Abu Ein in Turmus Aiya village the day before.
Thousands of mourners flocked to the Mukata presidential headquarters in Ramallah before noon to attend the military funeral of Abu Ein, who died of a heart attack after he was pushed by Israeli Border Police on Wednesday morning during a demonstration.
As they entered the main gate, officials, including Hamas leaders, lined one side of the square, and members of the public lined up on the opposite side. Palestinian flags stood at half-mast.
Abu Ein’s widow, sons and other relatives took their place next to the officials. Next Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas came, paid his respects to the family and took his place at the widow’s side.
The ceremonial bagpipes and drummers dressed in red led the procession, followed by the honor guards carrying the Palestinian-flag-wrapped casket on their shoulders to the red carpet podium in front of the family.
Once the casket was in place, the guards saluted the coffin. Abbas placed a wreath on top of the casket and read a Koranic verse. Then, the prayer ceremony began, led by PA Supreme Shari’a Judge Mahmoud a-Habbash who invited the crowd to line up behind up the casket for service.
After the prayer service, the crowd left the Mukata, heading toward the Martyrs Cemetery in El-Bireh. The body was carried on a military jeep heading to the burial site just a few kilometers away.
On her way out of the presidential headquarters, Subhia Sulaiman, a 65-year-old mourner, sobbed with her head down, “This loss is not just for his family, it’s for all of Palestine.
“This death should not go unpunished, we should avenge his death, eye for an eye,” she told The Jerusalem Post as she wore her traditional Palestinian embroidered dress.
Members of the public who had attended the ceremony in the Mukata, as well as thousands outside, led the march to the cemetery. Masked men, some of them from Fatah’s al-Aksa Brigades, shot their rifles in the air in honor of Abu Ein, as people quietly marched with banners and flags.
Mourners covered the entire cemetery grounds waiting for the body. Once it arrived the burial process began. The white shroud-wrapped corpse was taken out of the casket and placed in the grave.
Earlier on Thursday, Palestinian government spokesman Ihab Bseiso held the Israeli government accountable for the killing of Abu Ein, after the release of preliminary results of the Palestinian autopsy carried out with the participation of Jordanian and Israeli forensic experts.
Palestinian forensics chief Saber al-Aloul told reporters Abu Ein’s heart attack was caused by Border Police violence. Aloul said that Abu Ein died from Ischemia, which is an inadequate blood supply to the heart due to internal bleeding of the coronary artery that was lined with plaque. This occured, Aloul said, as the result of the kind of stress, pressure and agony associated with bruises found on the neck and face.
During the demonstration, Abu Ein inhaled tear gas and was pushed by an officer as he tried to move toward an army jeep. At one point as they shouted at each other, the officer held Abu Ein by the throat for a brief moment that was photographed and caught on video. Israeli pathologists said that the heart attack had nothing to do with the violence.
Angry citizens who believe Abu Ein was “murdered” called for a strong Palestinian reaction. Activists on social media dubbed Abu Ein “The Martyr Minister.”
The PLO Executive Committee will meet Friday evening to discuss six action steps, chief negotiator and executive committee member Saeb Erekat told the Post. Some of these plans are already underway, such as a pending vote on United Nations Security Council resolution imposing a deadline for a two-state solution at the pre-1967 lines. Other steps include signing the Rome Statute and joining the International Criminal Court, Erekat said.
The PLO has called on the high contracting parties of the Geneva Conventions to rule on the applicability of its conventions to West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
Erekat said that the Palestinian Authority has already asked the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to establish a special regime for international protection in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
In that meeting, Erekat said, a decision will be made in regards to “defining the Palestinian-Israeli relations which will include the cessation of the security cooperation and also call upon the occupying power of Israel to assume its responsibilities.”