The Military Advocate General in Israel said that the soldiers who left – last year – an elderly Palestinian-American out in the open during the night, tied up after his arrest, until he died; They will not be criminally prosecuted, but will face disciplinary action.
The Israeli forces detained Omar Asaad (80 years old) at a temporary security checkpoint in his West Bank town of Jaljulia on January 12, 2022.
The soldiers left Omar Asaad lying unresponsive at a construction site, saying that they thought he had fallen asleep, and in the early morning hours he was found dead with a plastic strap on his wrist.
The army said that Asaad resisted “loudly and persistently” the soldiers’ attempts to take him from his car to the security checkpoint, and added that because of his refusal to cooperate, the soldiers temporarily gagged his mouth with a piece of cloth, and handcuffed his hands with a plastic tie.
According to the narration of Abd al-Ilah Asaad, the cousin of the martyr Omar Asaad, the old Palestinian was returning from a visit to his relatives when the occupation soldiers surprised him and took him out of the car by force, tied his hands and put tape over his mouth, then dragged him 200 meters away and threw him in a building under construction. They beat him.
Yedioth Ahronoth: The Israeli Military Prosecution decided to close the investigation file with the soldiers and officers of the Netzah Yehuda Brigade who were responsible for the death of the elderly Palestinian (who holds American citizenship) Omar Asaad, 80 years old, in January 2022 #Al Jazeera pic.twitter.com/gfOOhf1KQh
– Al Jazeera Palestine (@AJA_Palestine) June 14, 2023
After a preliminary investigation, the occupation army dismissed two officers and reprimanded the battalion commander, who said that Asaad’s death resulted from “a moral failure and defective decision-making.”
The army’s legal committee said – in a statement yesterday, Tuesday – that its decision not to prosecute the soldiers involved in the death of the Palestinian elderly man was taken “after hearing sessions and after a comprehensive examination of the investigation materials, which showed that there was no causal relationship between the errors in the soldiers’ behavior and the death.”
A Palestinian autopsy on Omar Asaad, who was suffering from heart problems, concluded that he had suffered a heart attack caused by stress. Palestinian officials attributed this to the Israeli soldiers’ abuse of him.
The Military Advocate General’s Unit stated that a military medical official determined that it was impossible to say that Assad’s death was the exact result of the behavior of the forces, and that the soldiers were unaware of his medical condition.
Palestinian leaders have called for the soldiers involved to be tried by an international tribunal, and the United States has called for a “full criminal investigation and full accountability” into the death of the Palestinian citizen, who holds American citizenship.
A report by the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, based on military data for the period between 2017 and 2021, concluded that the occupation soldiers were prosecuted for less than 1% of the hundreds of complaints accusing them of committing crimes against the Palestinians.