Palestinians pen letter to UN chief over PA minister’s death

Palestinians pen letter to UN chief over PA minister’s death

PA envoy accuses Israel of ‘murder’ in death of senior Palestinian official following clash with IDF troops

Palestinian official Ziad Abu Ein (L) argues with Israeli soldiers during a demonstration in the West Bank on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)
Palestinian official Ziad Abu Ein (L) argues with Israeli soldiers during a demonstration in the West Bank on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)

The Palestinian Authority leadership issued a letter of complaint Wednesday to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon following the death of a senior Palestinian official after he clashed with Israeli troops earlier in the day.

The Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Riyad Mansour, used explosive language, accusing Israel of the “murder” of PA official Ziad Abu Ein, and alleging that the Israeli government was “fully responsible for this atrocious crime.”

The Palestinian envoy intimated that the UN was enabling a “culture of impunity” and called on the Security Council to publicly condemn the incident.

Mansour also reiterated the earlier Palestinian demand for a full investigation into the incident in which Abu Ein, who headed the Palestinian Authority agency that lobbies against the security barrier and settlements, died Wednesday morning on the way to a Ramallah hospital after being involved in a scuffle with Israeli troops near Turmusaya, south of the Shiloh settlement in the northern West Bank.

Palestinian witnesses said Abu Ein, 55, inhaled tear gas and was hit by a soldier’s rifle butt, but an Israeli witness claimed Abu Ein had not been physically struck with a weapon.

Abu Ein is set to be laid to rest midday Thursday, prompting Israel to bolster security measures across the West Bank amid fears the funeral could lead to widespread protests and rioting.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas vowed to respond to what he called the “brutal assault” on Abu Ein and summoned an emergency session of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, amid speculation he could suspend longstanding security cooperation between the PA and Israel.

“All options are open for discussion and implementation,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed a personal message to the Palestinian Authority pledging that Israel would investigate the death, and urging restraint.

Following the incident, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, and his Palestinian counterpart, Hussein Al-Sheikh, agreed that an Israeli pathologist will join a delegation of pathologists from Jordan, for a joint examination of the circumstances of Abu Ein’s death, a statement issued by the IDF read.

The army also proposed to set up a joint Israeli-Palestinian crew charged with investigating the official’s death.

Osama Najar, a spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry, said an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of death.

The UN, EU, US and Britain have all called for a timely investigation into the death.

The incident was also condemned throughout the Arab world.

Abu Ein, a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, was extradited from the US to Israel in 1981 for his role in orchestrating a terrorist bombing two year earlier that killed two Israeli teens. He was released during a 1985 prisoners swap that saw three IDF soldiers captured in Lebanon set free. He has also served as deputy minister for prisoner affairs.

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