An Israeli investigation in to the shocking death of 80-year-old Palestinian American, Omar Asad, suggests that no occupation soldier will be prosecuted despite confirmation by investigators and eyewitnesses that he was blindfolded, gagged, handcuffed and left on the ground before passing out.
Details of the investigation were revealed in a leaked report yesterday by the Israeli news site Ynet. According to the findings, Israeli soldiers not only blindfolded and gagged Assad as reported by eyewitnesses at the time, the soldiers never sought medical aid for him even though a military medic was at hand.
The soldiers claim that Asad was detained during a “a routine check” and that during his arrest he did not show any distress or cry for help. Their account is disputed by two eyewitnesses who told the Washington Post that Asad was unconscious and not breathing when the soldiers left them in the courtyard of an under-construction house.
One of the other detainees, Mraweh Abdulrahman, said he saw one soldier seem to squat on Asad and check his condition before consulting with other troops. One of the soldiers then cut loose one of the plastic ties on Asad’s wrists before all the troops departed.
Abu Zaher, who had been Asad’s physician, questioned why an elderly man was “thrown on the ground like a bag” and not given first aid. “The minute they saw that he had lost consciousness and he had no pulse they withdrew quickly in order to avoid the anger from the village,” Zaher is reported saying in the New York Times. “By that point the chances to revive him were zero.”
Recounting the hours before Asad’s detention, the Times reported that he had been in high spirits, playing cards and drinking coffee, and optimistic that he would soon be able to travel freely between his birthplace in the West Bank and his adopted home in the United States, where his children and grandchildren live.
Asad lived in the US for about 40 years. He spent most of that time in the Milwaukee area before returning to the West Bank in 2009. His family believes that the Israeli occupation soldiers are responsible for his death and have called on the US to conduct an independent investigation, saying that the Israeli probe into the death is not reliable.
Their concern is shared by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem who also predicted that the soldiers will be allowed to go scot free. “A chronicle of whitewashing foretold,” said B’Tselem in a tweet. “Soldiers arrested innocent drivers in the dead of night, took an 80 YO to a deserted building, gagged and handcuffed him and left him there. He died. The investigation will be over soon, the army will exonerate the soldiers.”
Palestinians, because it is explicitly indifferent to Palestinian lives.
Maybe this time, the death of an American citizen will compel the United States to act, for a change, in response to the crimes of its close ally.
— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) January 23, 2022
B’Tselem explained that the actions of the Israeli soldiers “were in line with what’s expected” and warned that the orders might be reiterated and the soldiers and their commanders will go on as if nothing happened, until the next arbitrary arrest.