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Funeral held near Nablus for Palestinian youth killed in clashes

June 8, 2016 5:21 P.M. (Updated: June 9, 2016 11:20 A.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Thousands of Palestinians took part in the funeral of Jamal Dweikat, 20, in the Balata refugee camp in the occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Wednesday afternoon.

Dweikat, whose body was returned by Israeli authorities at dawn on Wednesday, was hit by several bullets in the head during clashes with Israeli forces on Friday near Joseph’s Tomb after several buses transported Jewish worshipers to the site.

Dweikat was initially taken to the Rafidia hospital in Nablus, and then to the Tel HaShomer Hospital when he reached critical condition.

The funeral procession set off from the Rafidia hospital towards Dweikat’s house, before heading off to the cemetery for burial. Dozens of armed Fatah-affiliated men took part in the funeral opening fire in the air. The Palestinian flag was raised, in addition to flags of the Fatah and Hamas movements.

Dweikat’s father told Ma'an that “Jamal was welcomed as a hero two times, once when he was released from Israeli prison and today as a martyr,” adding that he last saw Jamal an hour before he was killed.

The secretary-general of the Fatah movement in Balata, Imad Dweikat, demanded that the Palestinian Authority reconsider and negotiate the future of Joseph’s Tomb, that Palestinian should not be paying the price for Israeli settlers’ visits.

Joseph's Tomb is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans alike. The Israeli military allows Jews to visit as part of organized pilgrimages, despite the shrine being located in Area A under full Palestinian Authority control, and prohibit Muslims from worshiping on the site.

Israeli settlers frequently visit Joseph's Tomb under the protection of Israeli forces.

During the visits, Israeli forces regularly raid Palestinian villages in the area and fire tear gas canisters into the nearby Balata refugee camp.

"We will continue to resist and fight back Israel," Imad Dweikat added. "Whenever someone is martyred, our persistence to continue the fight would increase.”

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since a wave of unrest began in October.
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