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What happened to PA minister Ziad Abu Ein

By Missing Peace

Yesterday PA Senior Official Ziad Abu Ein died after taking part in a demonstration against Israeli settlements in the Emek Shilo area on the West Bank.

Palestinian and international media immediately issued conflicting reports about the cause of Abu Ein’s  death. It was variously reported that Ziad Abu Ein died after he was hit with a rifle butt, hit with an IDF helmet, hit with a tear gas canister, inhaled tear gas and was choked

The Israeli media however, reported that Abu Ein was confronted and pushed by a Border policeman . Later it was reported that Ziad Abu Ein was in poor health since he suffered from diabetes and that a heart attack could be the cause of his death.

The Israeli version of the incident was supported by video footage.

The video below shows the whole incident. You will see that the Border Police agent briefly holds Abu Ein’s neck and pushes him away. The next scene shows Abu Ein lying on the ground. You will notice that an Israeli paramedic is trying to give him first aid and is preparing his arm for an IV line. But then Palestinians decide to carry his body away.


In this video Abu Ein can be seen sitting on the ground and showing signs of an heart attack.

Sky news reporter Tom Rayner who witnessed the incident confirmed that an Israeli medic tried to treat Abu Ein

Rayner said: “When he’s on the floor, an Israeli medic does come up to him.  She tries to clear an area around him, but Palestinians pick him up and take him straight to a vehicle.”

A second reporter who was standing next to Abu Ein was Israeli Channel 10 reporter, Roi Sharon, who described the demonstration as low key. Sharon said that Abu Ein collapsed some five minutes after the confrontation with the Border Police. He furthermore said that Palestinian claims that Abu Ein had been choked and attacked with a rifle were false.

Today the Israeli Health Ministry reportedly issued the following statement:

Abu Ein died of heart vessel blockage. He suffered from heart disease.

The statement came after an autopsy led by Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli doctors. Dr. Hen Kugel, the Israeli doctor who took part in the autopsy, who was interviewed by Ynet said that the report was not final and that they were awaiting on the return of some tests, however “we know what happened there – he died from a heart attack. He had significant blockage of the arteries and his heart was in bad shape. When they grabbed his neck it caused massive stress which led to bleeding and then full blockage which is what killed him.”

During the confrontation with Israeli security forces Abu Ein, who received a life sentence for his part in the murder of two Israeli youths in 1979 but was released in a prisoners’ swap in 1985, was heard shouting in Arabic, “this is the terrorism of the occupation, this is a terrorist army practicing its terrorism on the Palestinian people,” He told the official Palestine TV. “We came to plant trees on Palestinian land, and they launch into an attack on us from the first moment. Nobody threw a single stone.” Abu Ein also called the Israeli who pushed him away a dog.

Palestinian media and PA officials immediately used the death of Abu Ein to step up the incitement campaign against Israel and to implement a key part of a plan presented by PA president Mahmoud Abbas at the recent meeting of the Arab League in Cairo

WAFA the official PA press agency for example cited  PA president Mahmoud Abbas who said: “the savage attack that led to Abu Ein’s death as a Martyr, is a barbaric act cannot be passed over in silence or accepted” Abbas emphasized: “We will take all necessary measures after learning the results of the investigation of fighter Abu Ein’s Martyrdom-death.”

Fatah Central Committee member and Advisor to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Sultan Abu Al-Einein said that Israel had crossed all red lines with its ‘abominable crime’… Abu Al-Einein emphasized that the cold-blooded murder of Martyr Ziad Abu Ein would not be passed over in silence, and that Minister Abu Ein’s death as a Martyr would be a turning point for Fatah, which would not content itself with condolences for the death of Martyr Abu Ein, but would set fire to the ground – which Ziad Abu Ein redeemed with his blood – beneath the occupiers’ feet.

PA official Hanan Ashrawi accused Israel of having carried out an “extrajudicial killing.” The Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Riyad Mansour, accused Israel of the ‘murder’ of Ziad Abu Ein.

Following Abu Ein’s death, the PA announced three days of national mourning and that it was suspending security cooperation with Israel. Ending the security cooperation with Israel in the West Bank was part of Abbas’ plan to escalate the conflict with Israel. He presented the plan during the last Arab League top.  .

Originally Abbas had intended to use this measure in case of an American veto of a UN Security Council resolution which aims to set a fixed date for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.  Jordan which is currently a member of the Security Council is preparing such a resolution on behalf of the PA.

After the incident Israel offered a joint investigation into the circumstances that led to Abu Ein’s death. The PA has not yet accepted this offer.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) commander Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, said that Abu Ein’s body will undergo an autopsy attended by Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli pathologists.

Israeli Channel 2 reported that the commander of the Border Police unit that was involved in the incident had said that his troops had acted with restraint after a jeep was attacked by Palestinians who tried to cover the vehicle with a Palestinian flag.

Meanwhile tensions on the West Bank are rising and there are reports of riots in several areas. The IDF is preparing for an upsurge in violence during and after Abu Ein’s funeral.