Israel ‘completely responsible’ for death of Palestinian minister — PA government

Thousands of people gathered at the funeral of the Palestinian minister, who died shortly after Israeli-Palestinian clashes on Wednesday. The parties to the conflict came up with contradictory reports after his autopsy.

As thousands of Palestinians mourned 55-year-old Ziad Abu Ein, a senior official, in Ramallah, there were clashes with the Israeli police around the West Bank.

Ehab Bessaiso, a spokesman for the autonomous government gave a press conference on Thursday. According to AFP, he said: “After the results of the autopsy, the Palestinian government holds Israel completely responsible for the death of Ziad Abu Ein.”

“We think that no one should die during a protest. We are investigating every soldier who was there,”said Nimrod Shefer, head of the IDF’s planning directorate, according to the Haaretz newspaper.

On Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning, as well as the cancellation of all contacts and security coordination with Israel. “We will take the necessary measures after the results of the investigation into the incident,” he said, according to the i24news TV-channel.

On Thursday afternoon, the city of Ramallah witnessed a funeral procession with the sounds of drums, bagpipes and firing in the air. Thousands of people, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, took to the streets, which were decorated with posters of the dead minister.

A crowd of about 150 Palestinians, according to some reports as cited by Ynetnews website, threw stones and hurled burning tires at an IDF outpost in the West Bank city of Hebron. A group of around 50 people rioted at the place where Ziad Abu Ein’s lost his life in the West Bank.

The Palestinian official died on Wednesday, after he was reportedly struck in the chest with a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops. He was among a group of some 300 protesters planting olive trees outside a village in Samaria, West Bank; there are fears the area might be grabbed by an Israeli settlement outpost.

Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli pathologists participated in the late night autopsy, but on Thursday the officials issued conflicting reports on the cause of death.

A top Palestinian official told Reuters that the minister had died from “being struck, inhaling tear gas and a delay in providing medical attention.” However, the preliminary autopsy report released by the Israeli government suggested a heart attack — “a coronary occlusion, brought on by stress” — as the cause of death.

It comes amidst rising tensions between Israel and Palestine. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were reinforced with two battalions of soldiers and two companies of border police in preparation for protests in the West Bank area.

This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.