January 12, 2022: Omar Abul-Majid As’ad, 80, was killed by Israeli soldiers who invaded a village north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, before detaining and assaulting him in an under-construction building.
An autopsy conducted by Israeli authorities confirmed that the 80-year old Palestinian-American retiree died of a heart attack brought on by “external violence” inflicted by the Israeli soldiers upon his body.
Specifically, “bruises on his head, redness on his wrists from being bound, and bleeding in his eyelids from being tightly blindfolded”, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.
The Mayor of Jaljulia, Fuad Motea’, said the soldiers invaded the Jaljulia village, abducted Omar, and took him to an under-construction home where they brutally assaulted him before leaving him on the ground.
Although he had U.S citizenship, he could not risk leaving the West Bank to be with his children in the United States for fear of not being allowed back to Palestine.
Motea’ also added that the elderly man, who is also an American citizen, was detained by the soldiers in the al-Ein area in Jaljulia before, around 1:30 at dawn, before he was cuffed, blindfolded, and assaulted by the soldiers in the building.
He added that the slain elderly man was returning home after visiting with relatives when the soldiers stopped his car and forced him out before proceeding to assault him in the building.
He stated that Palestinian medics rushed to the scene, but were unable to resuscitate the man, before moving his corpse to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah. The soldiers also abducted at least four Palestinians in the village.
His nephew, Mohammad, told Palestine TV that several army vehicles invaded the village after midnight, before the soldiers forced his uncle out of his car, and proceeded to cuff and blindfold him, and started dragging him on the ground before taking him to the under-construction building.
He added that after the soldiers repeatedly struck his uncle in the under-construction home, and after realizing that he was dead they just left him on the ground and left the area.
“He was an old man with respiratory issues; the soldiers had no reason to abduct him, let alone to cuff and blindfold him, and to take him to an under-construction home, where they constantly assaulted him, and then just left him there!” Mohammad said.
The Palestinians found his corpse approximately at 4 at dawn in the under-construction building, after the soldiers withdrew from the village.
During the invasion, the soldiers also detained several Palestinians after the army broke into homes and searched them.
As’ad is just one of the hundreds of Palestinian men that have lost their lives during middle-of-the-night raids by Israeli soldiers.
The fully armed soldiers routinely carry out operations under the cover of the dark to frighten and intimidate Palestinians – often children – and detain them.
As’ad was an American citizen; he lived most of his adult life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but returned to Palestine about ten years ago. His US passport is what made him worthy of notice by US media and the government.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price indicated that the U.S. government had reached out for “clarification” on the matter and that Israel had begun an investigation into As’ad’s death. Beyond condolences to the family of the deceased, there was no further action taken by the U.S. government.
Update: Thirteen days after he was killed by the soldiers, his name was among the names of Palestinians who received family reunification documents from Israel.
This is not the first time an American citizen has met with tragedy and injustice at the hands of the Israeli military. A number of others have been killed, seriously injured, or tortured. Some of the victims were activists, fighting for equal rights for Palestinians. Others were Palestinian-Americans. If Americans Knew reported on six of these cases; the Foreign Service Journal documented others.
These American victims had little success in holding Israel accountable – Palestinian victims have even less.
Also at dawn on the day Omar was killed, the soldiers abducted eighteen Palestinians and injured two, including a journalist, in several parts of the occupied West Bank.