State Dept. to question Israel over closed IDF probe into Arab-American’s death

The U.S. State Department failed to acknowledge that the PA refused to provide crucial evidence or that the IDF had punished several soldiers involved in the incident.

By World Israel News Staff

After the Israeli military concluded a probe into the death of an elderly Palestinian-American man who was briefly detained by the army, the U.S. State Department said it would be questioning Jerusalem further regarding the matter.

“We’re seeking more information from the Israeli government. We’re going to talk to them directly about it,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a press briefing on Wednesday, after being asked about Israel’s decision to close an investigation of the death of Omar As’ad, 78.

“Israel itself stated that the incident showed a clear lapse of moral judgment and a failure to protect the sanctity of human life,” Miller added, referring to an initial report from the IDF regarding the death.

The U.S. State Department failed to acknowledge that the PA refused to provide crucial evidence or that the IDF had punished several soldiers involved in the incident.

In January 2022, As’ad was temporarily held by Israeli soldiers after refusing to identify himself and behaving uncooperatively at a checkpoint near Ramallah. His hands were zip-tied and he was blindfolded, along with several other men.

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As’ad died shortly afterwards, with the Palestinian Health Ministry claiming that the cause of death was a stress-induced heart attack.

The Israeli military opened a probe into the incident, which led to the dismissal and formal censure of several senior officers involved in As’ad’s arrest.

There is no evidence that As’ad was physically assaulted or excessively restrained, but the IDF held the soldiers responsible for failing to seek medical attention for the man upon his release from the holding area, as he appeared to be unresponsive and weak.

Because the Palestinian Authority and As’ad’s family refused to cooperate with the IDF, and would not provide critical medical documentation regarding the death, the Israeli military closed the probe without their input.

The IDF recently announced that there would be no criminal charges filed against the troops, which appears to have been the catalyst for the State Department’s comments.