Thousands of Palestinians and internationals attend Darwish’s funeral on Wednesday in Ramallah, after his body arrived from the USA with a special Emirates airplane, then with special helicopters from Jordan at around 11:00 am.After several hours, the Israeli authorities agreed to open the Beituniya checkpoint point in the central West Bank in order to allow Palestinian citizens of Israel to travel to Ramallah for the funeral of poet Mahmoud Darwish.

A Palestinian member of Israeli Knesset, Muhammad Baraka contacted Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai and the Israeli cabinet coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, Yousif Mishlib, calling for the checkpoint to be opened.

Darwish was laid to rest at 14:00 in the front yard of the Cultural Palace in Ramallah, which will be named after him. He is an internationally respected cultural icon among the Palestinian and Arab people and well-known among international supporters of the Palestinian cause.

His poetry is seen as the voice of all Palestinians – a voice of resistance against the occupation and of Palestinian unification, calling for an end to factional infighting.

Darwish’s works were translated into more than twenty languages and he also won several international prizes. He died on Sunday in a Houston hospital in the United States after going in for heart surgery.