A delegation representing the Palestinian Authority visited on Sunday the family home of Mahmoud Darwish, who passed away Saturday evening at age 67 after undergoing open-heart surgery in Houston, Texas.
The officials convinced the family to bury the renowned Palestinian poet in the West Bank city of Ramallah instead of in his home village of al-Jadida in the western Galilee.
Delegation head Ahmed Abd El-Rahman said following the meeting, "An impressive funeral will be held at Ramallah's cultural center, and Darwish's burial plot will be located on a hill overlooking the city.
"In due time, after a Palestinian state is established, Darwish's gravesite, like Yasser Arafat's, will be relocated to Jerusalem – the eternal capital of the Palestinian nation," he said.
Arab-Israeli Knesset Member Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) also took part in the meeting.
Darwish left the al-Jadida in 1971, relocating his home every few years. According to his family, the village remained his home, even though he did not live in Israel in the past few decades.
"I would like my son to be buried here, but he isn’t just my son, he's the entire Arab world's son," said his mother, Hooriya earlier in the day..
"All these years we asked him to come home, but he kept saying that his home may be here, but his work was over there," said his younger sister, Siham. "I think he would like to be buried here, although he loved Haifa, as well."
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced a three-day mourning period in Darwish's honor. Flags were lowered to half-masts at all West Bank government buildings, and dozens of Palestinians gathered for a vigil in his memory.
"How much does it pain my heart and my soul to announce to the Palestinian people, the Arab and Islamic world, and to everyone who loves peace and freedom, the passing of the star of Palestine," said Abbas.
"The absence of our great poet Mahmud Darwish, the love of Palestine and the pioneer of the modern Palestinian cultural project... will leave a great void in our cultural, political, and national life," he said.
Ali Waked and the news agencies contributed to this report