SAAER, WEST BANK: Dalal Jaradat sat amongst the women of her family, her two-year-old son cradled on her lap, and closed her eyes to the grief around her. As the men carrying her husband Arafat's body grew closer and the sounds of anguish from the thousands of mourners outside grew louder, Dalal, three months pregnant with their third child, rested her head on her son and wept.
Next to her sat Arafat's sister, Jumana, her head bowed, at once heartbroken and angry at the sudden, violent end to her brother's life. His shocked family gathered around them and waited to receive his body.
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Palestinian detainee tortured to death
The Palestinian Minister of Prisoners' Affairs says a Palestinian inmate was tortured to death in an Israeli prison.
Outside, mourners lined the streets, crowding onto rooftops and balconies. A handful of masked gunmen, believed to be from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - an armed wing of the Fatah movement - fired into the air, vowing to ensure his death was not in vain. Some media reports indicated Mr Jaradat was a member of the Brigades.
Arafat Jaradat, 30, was arrested on February 18 on suspicion that he had thrown stones at Israeli soldiers. He died on Saturday in Israel's Megiddo Prison after enduring days of interrogation by Shin Bet officers.
The cause of his death is now in dispute – senior Palestinian Authority officials say the autopsy revealed his body showed signs of torture, including broken ribs and injuries to his neck, spine, arms and legs, while Israel says it is too early to say how he died.
At first, Israeli prison officials said he died of a heart attack.
Then a statement released from the Ministry of Health on Sunday night following the autopsy read: “Two internal haemorrhages were detected, one on the shoulder and one on the right side of the chest. Two ribs were broken, which may indicate resuscitation attempts. The initial findings cannot determine the cause of death.”
“The investigation is ongoing,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Mr Jaradat's funeral followed days of protests across the West Bank over Israel's treatment of the more than 4500 Palestinian prisoners it holds in its jails. At least 150 people were injured in clashes between protesters and Israeli soldiers.
Both Palestinian and Israeli security personnel were out in force on Monday as tensions grew over Mr Jaradat's death and the deteriorating health of four Palestinian prisoners on extended hunger strikes.
Many in Israel feared conditions were ripe for a third uprising, or intifada. Amos Gilad, an Israeli defence official, told Army Radio on Monday: “It looks as if the Palestinian Authority is trying to walk a delicate tightrope: both raising unrest and displays of violence and not wanting the matter to spin out of control.”
“Israel expects the Palestinian Authority to act responsibly to prevent incitement and violence, which will only exacerbate the situation,” Mr Regev said.
However Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of deliberately trying to provoke unrest amongst Palestinians.
"The Israelis want chaos and we know it, but we won't let them," Mr Abbas said.
The economic crisis that has gripped the Palestinian Authority and in turn, the West Bank, was contributing to the unrest, as was the absence of any political solution to Israel's decades-long military occupation of the Palestinian territories, warned Ghassan Khatib, the vice-president of Birzeit University.
“There is also the provocation of settler violence, which is happening almost every day,” Dr Khatib said. “Settlers are attacking Palestinian farmers, torching olive trees, vandalising property, and the Israeli Government has failed to bring any of them to justice.”
But it is the issue of prisoners that is the most sensitive for Palestinians.
“It is very difficult to find a family who has not had at least one member go to prison, and when one member of a family experiences it, the whole family experiences it,” said Dr Khatib, who has been jailed four times since 1974.
“I am one of four brothers in my family and all four of us went through the experience at one time or another – this is not exceptional.”
Torture was commonplace in Israeli prisons, he said, describing several periods in which he had experienced torture during his time in jail.
“Along with physical torture where my jaw was broken … I experienced what they called 'psychological pressure', which is mainly deprivation of sleep – they hang you from your hands in a way that you cannot sit or sleep or lay down for really long periods of time … it forces you to lose concentration and confess.”
Back in village of Saaer, Mr Jaradat's family were inconsolable.
“He worked in the family gas station for 10 hours a day, and struggled to make ends meet for his wife and two children – he had no time to cause any trouble for the Israelis,” his 31-year-old cousin Taber Jaradat said, tears streaming down his face.
“He died without a reason, killed by punishment and torture in prison.”