Elderly Palestinian-American was Handcuffed and Left to Die: This Is How Israel Punished the Soldiers Who Killed Him

Omar Asad, 80, died after Israeli soldiers assaulted him and left him to die in the open. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israel’s military advocate general said that soldiers who left an elderly Palestinian-American man, Omar Asaad, to die in the open while tied up will not face criminal prosecution but will face disciplinary action.

The man, Omar Asaad, 80, died at a makeshift checkpoint in his hometown of Jaljalia near Ramallah in the West Bank on January 12, 2022.

Left to Die

The soldiers left Asaad lying down while showing no signs of responding at a construction site, claiming they thought he had fallen asleep. In the early morning hours, the US citizen was found dead while still handcuffed.

The army said Asaad resisted “loudly and persistently” the soldiers’ attempts to take him out of his car to the checkpoint, adding that because of his refusal to cooperate, the soldiers temporarily gagged him with a cloth and handcuffed him.

According to Abdallah Asaad, cousin of Omar Asaad, the elderly Palestinian was returning from visiting relatives when the Israel Occupation soldiers took him by surprise and forcibly removed him from the car, tied his hands and put tape over his mouth, then dragged him 200 meters away and threw him into a building under construction, and beat him.

A Simple ‘Error’

The army’s legal body said in a statement on Tuesday that its decision not to prosecute the soldiers involved in the death of the elderly Palestinian was taken “following hearings and after a thorough examination of the investigation materials, which showed that there was no causal link between errors in the soldiers’ behavior and (the Palestinian-American’s) death.”

A Palestinian autopsy of Asaad, who was suffering from heart problems, concluded that he had suffered a stress-induced heart attack. Palestinian officials attributed this to abuse by Israeli soldiers.

According to Israel’s military advocate general’s office, however, a military medical official concluded that it was impossible to say that Asaad’s death was precisely the result of the conduct of the troops, and that the soldiers were not aware of his health condition.

For its part, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the Israeli decision to merely offer formal reprimand of the soldiers, accusing the Occupation of misleading the international community and world public opinion about the existence of investigations into the crimes committed by the Israeli army.

No Justice

These ‘investigations’, according to the ministry, often ends with the acquittal of the perpetrators, hiding evidence and providing escape doors for political and military officials.

The ministry also called on the US administration to investigate this crime, considering that the elderly man was an American citizen. It also called on the International Criminal Court to quickly complete its investigations into the crimes of the Occupation to hold accountable and prosecute accused Israeli war criminals and those behind them.

A report by the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, based on military data for the period between 2017 and 2021, concluded that Israeli soldiers were tried for less than 1% of hundreds of complaints accusing them of committing crimes against Palestinians.

Even that small percentage, however, rarely results in convictions or imprisonments.

(Aljazeera Net, Palestine Chronicle)

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