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East Jerusalem neighborhood bucks Israeli restrictions with mass funeral

A small East Jerusalem neighborhood defied Israeli-imposed conditions and held a mass send off for one of their neighbors killed by Israeli police while protesting the demolition of homes and their replacement with a park.

The front page of the July 2 edition of Al-Quds, Palestine’s largest-selling newspaper, spoke volumes. The paper's editors dedicated all eight columns to the huge public funeral for Mohammad Obeid, a young man from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya. The headline read, “Martyr Obeid of Issawiya Given a Proper Funeral.” A four-column picture showed the massive crowd carrying the flag-draped body aloft, and Samir Obeid, the slain man's father, being hoisted above supporters’ heads in a sea of people and flags.

Obeid's funeral, and a mass one at that, was not supposed to be held in the middle of the day or in Issawiya. Israeli authorities, who had snatched Obeid’s body from a car en route from the hospital, had insisted that Obeid be given a simple burial at night outside the town with no more than a handful of people in attendance. On June 29, the Israeli High Court had rejected a petition by the Obeid family to retrieve the body so they could give Mohammad a proper burial.

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