Hundreds of Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces at West Bank funeral of prisoner Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Alistair Dawber joins prisoner’s funeral procession through Hebron

Hebron

They came in their hundreds; first to hospital to pay their respects to their fallen comrade, and then on to the streets to throw rocks and roll burning tyres at the Israelis, who they blame for his demise.

Despite the masses at Hebron’s central Al-Alhi hospital, where Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh’s body lay, wrapped in a Palestinian flag, it was an intensely family affair. The heavily armed security guards who had allowed photographers and reporters to see the body suddenly melted away to allow his grieving family to kiss the body as they arrived – the only intimate moment of what became a very public event.

After that, the funeral took on the appearance of a political rally. From the hospital, Abu Hamdiyeh’s body was lifted on to a truck, flanked by more heavily armed Palestinian security officials. Hundreds of metres of traffic snaked behind the body, beeping horns and blaring out patriotic music and prayers.

Abu Hamdiyeh was a so-called security prisoner – convicted of planning to blow up a café in Jerusalem – who died of cancer in Israeli custody on Tuesday. He was also a Palestinian national hero. His death has sparked rocket fire from Gaza and clashes for three days in the West Bank. He had aggressive cancer of the oesophagus, but that didn’t stop Palestinians blaming the Israelis for his death. Outside the hospital, the Palestinian Minister for Prisoners, Issa Qaraqie, was clear who was to blame. “He died because of negligence – had they caught the cancer, he would have lived for many years. The Israelis didn’t give him appropriate treatment,” he said.

The convoy, headed by the body, eventually snaked its way to a mosque in the city where Fatah and Hamas supporters waved flags of their chosen faction. Masked members of the Al-Asqa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of Fatah, fired repeatedly into the air.

Abu Hamdiyeh’s funeral had always been expected to spark protests and as people moved away from the mosque, clashes broke out at one of the main checkpoints in the city and hundreds of young men hurled rocks at the security forces. Tyres, later set alight and rolled towards the checkpoint to provide cover for the protests, were brought in vans. In response, the Israeli security forces fired multiple rounds of tear gas, some of the canisters landing on those in the streets.

As well as Hebron, there was also violence in Bethlehem and Tulkarem, where protesters flocked to the funeral of two Palestinians who were shot dead by Israeli troops on Wednesday evening near a military checkpoint. The Israelis said troops opened fire after rocks were thrown at them. The violence in the West Bank came hours after another rocket from Gaza hit southern Israel, the third consecutive day of strikes.

Despite the clashes there were no reported injuries on either side, but they nonetheless represent a blow for those that were hoping that the visit of Barack Obama last month would reignite the moribund peace process. The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, arrives in the region at the weekend for further talks.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for the violence. “It seems that Israel wants to spark chaos in the Palestinian territories,” he said. “From the beginning, we have said we want stability and calm. Despite that, Israel on every occasion is using lethal force against peaceful young protesters, and peaceful demonstrations are being suppressed with the power of weapons. This is not acceptable.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel’s patience was growing thin. “If the quiet is violated, we will respond strongly,” he said. “The security of Israel’s citizens is my chief concern and we will know how to defend the security of our people.”

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution