| 6 October 2022, Thursday |

Israel punishes three senior officers over 78-year-old Palestinian detainee’s death

The Israeli military said on Tuesday that a senior officer would be reprimanded and two others would be removed from positions of authority following the murder of a 78-year-old Palestinian who was taken from his car, shackled, and blindfolded after being stopped at a checkpoint.

According to the report, the troops thought Omar Asaad was asleep when they broke his zip ties and placed him face-down in an abandoned building with three other Palestinians. The other captives said they had no idea he was there until the troops departed.

It’s not clear when he died. After the other inmates discovered him unresponsive, he was brought to a hospital and proclaimed dead.

“The inquiry found that the occurrence was a serious and regrettable event, the result of moral failure and bad decision-making on the part of the soldiers,” the military said in a statement. The military police are currently conducting a separate criminal probe.

Asaad was an American citizen with extensive relatives in the country. The State Department voiced its alarm over his death and requested an inquiry. Two members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation have asked the Biden administration to look into the matter.

According to the Israeli military, such occurrences are properly investigated. However, human rights groups claim that Israel seldom holds troops responsible for Palestinian killings. Even in the most heinous crimes — especially those caught on tape — troops are frequently given low terms. Palestinians claim they are subjected to systematic maltreatment while living under military occupation.

According to an autopsy performed in Palestine, Asaad died of a heart attack “induced by psychological strain owing to the exterior aggression he was exposed to.” It said that he had underlying health issues, but that he also had bruises on his head, redness on his wrists from being tied, and blood in his eyelids from being firmly blindfolded.

Around 3 a.m., Asaad was detained at a makeshift roadblock in his home hamlet of Jiljiliya, in the occupied West Bank. According to the military, he lacked identification and “refused to participate with the security check.” “Its inquiry found no use of violence “save when (Asaad) was seized after refusing to cooperate.”

According to the report, the troops “could not recognize signals of anguish.” “when the detainees were freed a half-hour later They “assumed (Asaad) was sleeping and did not attempt to rouse him.”

The battalion commander will be punished, and the platoon commander and company commander will be dismissed from their posts and forbidden from commanding responsibilities for two years, according to the military.

Assad was born in Jiljilya but lived the majority of his life in the United States. According to his relatives, he obtained a US citizen before returning to his native town in 2009 to retire with his wife, Nazmia.

During the 1967 Mideast conflict, Israel conquered the West Bank. Parts of the land are administered by the Palestinian Authority, while its 2.5 million citizens are subject to Israeli military authority. Israeli forces frequently conduct nocturnal raids, claiming that they are required for apprehending Palestinian terrorists, and set up temporary checkpoints where Palestinians are stopped and examined.

Assad Assad, Asaad’s nephew, claimed his uncle and aunt left Jiljilya for Chicago in 1969 in search of better opportunities. They relocated to Milwaukee in 1974 and succeeded, he claimed, owning convenience stores and a restaurant.

Assad Assad claimed they were among dozens of Jiljilya inhabitants who had returned to the area over the years to build retirement houses.

“They created mini-castles for retirees,” he explained. “It’s so calm, and all you can see are olive trees.” Because we’re up in the mountains, you can smell orange groves at night.”

Hane Assad, Omar’s nephew, and Hane Assad, his son, both regarded him as a philanthropist who was the life of the party. Hane Assad told the Associated Press that his father frequently gave money to the underprivileged.

“He just liked everyone, no matter what ethnicity or culture they were,” he added. “He just viewed you as a person.”

His favorite food was maqluba, a rice and meat mixture, and he enjoyed playing cards, according to Assad Assad. He was on his way home after playing cards with a cousin when he was stopped by the troops, he claimed.

Hane Assad stated that his mother and father were planning to pay him a visit at his home in Chesapeake, Virginia, before his father died. Assad said that his father was too elderly and frail to fight anyone, let alone a swarm of soldiers.

Hane Assad described him as “extremely feeble.” “He walked with the aid of a cane.” The way he walks, it takes him five minutes to get to the car. He does not have the strength of 30 warriors… ‘We departed, and he was alright,’ stated the military. It makes no sense.”

When Assad returns to Jiljilya, he is constantly terrified because the Israelis who control the checkpoints are harsh and insulting. He claimed to have been stopped for four hours while on his way to his grandmother’s burial.

He claims that the military make fun of his American citizenship.

“Every time we came to a halt, Dad would say, ‘Whatever they want for, give it to them.'” Just keep your cool.’ “We was pulled over a lot of times, and I never saw him fight,” Hane Assad claimed. “I still can’t believe they did it to my father.” He’s about 80 years old. Couldn’t all the soldiers there handle him? This is inappropriate. You don’t treat the elderly like that.”

  • Associated Press