World Bulletin / News Desk
The funeral was held almost one week following his death after Israel’s Supreme Court ruled Monday that police must release his body and refrain from limiting the size of the funeral.
Relatives struggled to hold back the crowds that congregated around the body of Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan as it was brought out before the funeral ceremony.
Abu al-Qiyan, 50, was shot dead last Wednesday when hundreds of Israeli police raided the village of Umm al-Hiran before demolishing several local homes.
According to police, Abu al-Qiyan had carried out a vehicular attack that had left an Israeli police officer dead.
The police account, however, has been disputed by village residents and rights activists, who cite police footage that appears to show police opening fire on Abu al-Qiyan’s car before it accelerated towards the officer.
The incident has led to a strike and a number of protests among Arab-Israelis, who say Israel’s home demolition policy is tantamount to discrimination by the state -- especially as last week’s Umm al-Hiran incident had followed another home demolition in the northern town of Qalansawe.
"From the Negev, from the South, from all the towns, we are here because we wanted to see the martyr," Bashar Ali, an Arab-Israeli from northern Israel and a student at Tel Aviv University, said.
"We are here for the martyr in all our strength," added Ali, who travelled a considerable distance to attend Tuesday’s funeral.
He went on to assert that the recent home demolitions had revealed the problems faced by Israel’s Palestinian citizens, including a lack of human rights for people in Bedouin villages like Umm al-Hiran, whose residents enjoy limited access to electricity and water.
The Israeli authorities have issued demolition orders against the entire village of Umm al-Hiran to make way for Jewish-only housing projects, claiming homes in the Bedouin village had been built without official permits.
In 1952, and again in 1956, Umm al-Hiran residents were forcibly relocated by the nascent Israeli state. In the years since, many village residents have refused offers to be relocated to the nearby town of Hura.