On 10 March 2014 Saji Darwish was shot and killed as he walked from work across the fields in a small valley to football practice in his home village of Beitin. The shot came from the fenced off settler-only road that crossed the valley. The official report said that two shots had been fired, but said little more. Saji was a second year student at Birzeit University. The following day on campus the university’s President, faculty members and many hundreds of students came together to pay their respects. University leaders gave speeches and religious verses were read over his body at a tomb on campus dedicated to those students who been killed by Israeli forces.
A month later we visited his family and expressed our condolences. The occasion was a 5-a-side memorial tournament. His uncle, the major, said that only then was the community beginning to emerge from its state of shock. Football was helping the community pull itself around.