PA settlement minister was reportedly struck by Israeli security forces at a protest agains the illegal settlement outpost of Adei Ad in the northern West Bank. Abbas calls the killing a ‘barbaric act’; Balad MK calls for immediate commission of inquiry.
By Haggai Matar and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
Palestinian Authority Settlement Minister Ziad Abu Ein died following clashes with Israeli security forces near the illegal West Bank outpost of Adei Ad Wednesday. The demonstration was against the illegal outpost and corresponded with a petition filed against it in Israeli court and with International Human Rights Day.
Abu Ein was standing face to face with Israeli Border Police and soldiers during a protest against the illegal outpost, according to witnesses on the ground. An Israeli soldier or Border Police officer reportedly struck Abu Ein after which he collapsed on the ground. Israeli troops were using stun grenades and tear gas, although the tear gas was not being shot in the immediate vicinity of Abu Ein at the time he was struck, a witness said.
Video from Sky News Arabia shows appears to show part of the incident, in which an Israeli Border Police officer has his hands around Abu Ein’s neck. A crowd then appears to carry him away.
Israeli army medics attempted to treat Abu Ein before Palestinian medics evacuated him to a hospital in Ramallah, where he was pronounced dead. He was reportedly having difficulty breathing when he was evacuated from the scene.
An autopsy was set to take place to determine cause of death.
“We tried to go and plant olive tree saplings today when the soldiers attacked us,” said Abdallah Abu-Rahme, of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC). “The soldiers pushed Abu Ein; he was injured and fell to the ground. He is an older man who had various health conditions, and he died as a result of the blows he sustained.”
Ziad Abu Ein was a symbol of the PA’s support for popular struggle, said Muhammad Zawara, an activist in the PSCC.
PSCC activists said that a large demonstration would take place surrounding Abu Eid’s funeral.
Four Palestinian villages and Israeli human rights group Yesh Din on Wednesday filed a petition to the High Court of Justice demanding that the army remove the illegal settlement outpost of Adei Ad, in the Shilo area of the West Bank.
The petition, which was filed on International Human Rights Day, is unprecedented in that it is based not only on the fact that the outpost is illegal and that it is partly located on privately owned Palestinian land, and not only on the fact that demolition orders for all of its structures have gone unimplemented. The petition also argues that the outpost has turned into a base of sorts, from which violence against Palestinians has originated for many years — which takes place with the support of the army and the state.
Wednesday morning the heads of Palestinian villages of Karyut, Turmus Aya, Jalud and al-Mughayer intended to hold a press conference about the petition at the entrance of Adei Ad and to plant olive saplings there. Dozens of people, including representatives of the Palestinian Authority took part.
Israeli soldiers prevented them from reaching the outpost, stopping them around 1 kilometer away. One Palestinian journalist was briefly detained.
Witnesses said no stones were thrown during the protest.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas called the incident “a barbaric action that cannot be ignored or accepted,” according to Ma’an. The Palestinian president added that he would seek to hold Israel accountable.
MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) called for an immediate commission of inquiry into Abu Eid’s death, blaming the army for using dangerous means of crowd dispersal.
The IDF Spokesperson said in a statement that it was “reviewing occurrences at the demonstration leading to the reported death of a Palestinian.”
A shorter version of this article first appeared on our Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it here.
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