It was so hot. It was the second hot day, after a long and dreary winter, one of the worst in recent years, most people here agree.
And then, unexpectedly, there was such heavy traffic. It came to a standstill in the village of Huwwara, just south of Nablus. It was so hot, and the traffic was so bad…
The reason, I was told, was the large number of people coming to Nablus to give their condolences and pay respect for the death of a religious scholar and Hamas figure who was also an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council:
* Bumper-to-bumper traffic going thru Huwwara village to Nablus after news of death of Sheikh Hamed al-Betawi – background story here.
* Unprecedented traffic between Ramallah + Nablus afternoon said to be officials going to pay condolences on death of Hamas scholar
* Can demonstration of respect upon news of death of Nablus’ Hamas MP+scholar be extrapolated to predict results of next elections [if held]?
* Religious leaders and scholars are due to drive to Nablus on Friday to express their condolences upon death of Hamas MP + religious scholar
* Completing the picture, Ma’an reports that Fadel Beitawi, 33 [son of Hamas Sheikh] was detained Monday [just three days before his father’s death] by IDF after a pre-dawn raid on home in Nablus
* Though Sheikh al-Betawi himself was arrested by the IDF several times, the arrest of his son coming so soon after the Sheikh’s recent heart surgery could not have helped his medical condition.
* Despite who he is, the Sheikh did get a permit to go for treatment to a Palestinian hospital in East Jerusalem, on part of the Mount of Olives, where he is reported to have died.
* IDF presence discretely reduced along the way to Nablus [+ back], as what must have been thousands went for condolences on death of the Hamas learned scholar and MP, Sheikh Hamed al-Betawi.