JERUSALEM (JTA) — A senior Palestinian official died after a confrontation with Israeli soldiers during a protest in the West Bank.
Ziad Abu Ein, 55, a member of the Fatah party’s Revolutionary Council, died Wednesday in the village of Turmusiya, near Ramallah. Dozens of local residents and activists were protesting the Jewish settlement outpost Adei Ad by planting olive trees on land that they believe is in danger of being confiscated by Israel.
Israeli soldiers beat Abu Ein and he suffered severe tear gas inhalation, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.
An Israeli photographer who was standing next to Abu Ein during the demonstration said in a tweet that he did not see the Palestinian official struck by soldiers.
Abu Ein lost consciousness and his heart stopped beating on his way to Ramallah Public Hospital, Maan reported. His family said he had diabetes and high blood pressure.
The Israel Defense Forces said it was reviewing the circumstances at the demonstration that led to Abu Ein’s death. An Israeli pathologist will join a delegation of pathologists from Jordan for a joint examination of the circumstances of Abu Ein’s death. Additionally, a proposal was made to the Palestinians to establish a joint investigation team to review the incident.
President Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a statement called the alleged attack on Abu Ein a “barbaric action that cannot be ignored or accepted.” He also said he would take “the proper actions after the investigation reveals how he was killed.”
Abu Ein previously served as undersecretary to the minister of prisoner affairs. He was head of the committee against Israel’s security fence and settlements.
He was extradited to Israel from the United States in 1981 to face charges that he was involved in a 1979 bombing that killed two Israeli teens, the Times of Israel reported. After being sentenced in 1982 to life in prison, Abu Ein was released during a 1985 prisoner swap, according to the news website.