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Ni’lin holds funeral for Arafat al Khawaja

29th December 2008 – Funeral for the 22 year old resident of Ni’lin village killed by Israeli army while protesting against Israeli massacres in Gaza.

After the Israeli attacks against Gaza strip, Ni’lin village has been continuously protesting in solidarity with the people in Gaza.

Photos courtesy of Activestills

During the demonstration on the 28th December, Israeli soldiers used live ammunition against the protesters, hitting three people from the village. 22 year old Arafat Khawaja, was killed after having been shot in the back. The two others were Mohammed Khawaja, 19, who was declared brain damaged yesterday afternoon after taking a bullet in the forehead and Mohamed Srour who was shot in the leg.

At around 10am a procession of vehicles followed the ambulance carrying the body of Arafat from Ramallah hospital. The procession arrived in Ni’lin at noon where there were around 40 soldiers waiting at the entrance.

Approximately 4,000 people walked through the town with the body, which was first brought to the house of his parents. After Arafat’s mother could see him for the last time, his body was carried to the mosque where prayers were held for him. Arafat was buried in a grave close to the medical clinic at around 2 pm.

Arafat Khawaja was from a family of six brothers and four sisters. He was in the third year of medicinal analytical science at the American University in Jenin. He was living there and just visited his family in Ni’lin during the holidays.

Many people from the surrounding villages and from Jenin came to attend the funeral which was followed by a demonstration in the main street of Ni’lin in front of the checkpoint at the entrance of the town.

Israeli soldiers started firing teargas at around 3pm and continued till 5pm. There were about 30 soldiers with two jeeps standing at the checkpoint, and 10 other soldiers were occupying the roof of one of the first houses of the village.