IDF Soldiers: We Acted With Restraint at Protest Where Abu Ein Died (VIDEO)
Israeli Border Police officers insist they acted “moderately,” and within the official “rules of engagement” in a scuffle with a Palestinian Authority (PA) official at a demonstration on Wednesday, after which he collapsed and later died of a heart attack, Israel’s Channel 2 News said.
The “rules of engagement allow us to fire at the legs, but we did not shoot,” insisted a colleague of one of the soldiers, who was seen at one point briefly gripping Ziad Abu Ein’s neck to push him back.
Abu Ein, a convicted terrorist who headed the PA’s “Committee against the Separation Wall and Settlements,” died after a confrontation with Israeli soldiers during a protest over tree planting near the Jewish village of Adei Ad in Samaria.
An autopsy attended by Palestinian and Jordanian medical officials showed that he died of a heart attack brought on, apparently, “by stress,” and not police violence, as claimed by Palestinians and supporters.
The officers, in their version of events, told Abu Ein and other protesters that, “This area has been declared a closed military zone,” noting that “The Palestinians wanted to come to plant trees; we blocked off the area to prevent access.”
Police “rules of engagement allow us – or require us – to open fire at the legs, in case you get too close to the jeep,” continued the policeman. “We were moderate, did not shoot.”
According to police, “It was an attempt by the Palestinians to hang Palestinian flags on the jeep; we went out and tried to fend them off. One of the minister’s entourage tried to beat us with a stick; we worked in moderation.”
The policeman in question was sent home.
The Health Ministry, in an initial statement released Thursday, said Abu Ein’s death, “…was caused by a blockage of the coronary artery (one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart) due to hemorrhaging underneath a layer of atherosclerotic plaque. The bleeding could have been caused by stress.”
The ministry added that “The autopsy was carried out at the forensics institute in Abu Dis, and that, along with Dr. Chen Kugel and Dr. Maya Furman from the National Institute of Forensic Medicine,” representatives from the “Palestinian forensics institute and doctors from Jordan,” were also present.
“Indications of light hemorrhaging and localized pressure were found in his neck,” according to the findings. “The deceased suffered from ischemic heart disease; blood vessels in his heart were found to be over 80% blocked by plaque. Old scars indicating that he suffered from previous myocardial infarctions were also found.
“The poor condition of the deceased’s heart caused him to be more sensitive to stress,” the report said, adding that, “It is necessary to wait for the medical treatment report before determining more incisive explanations on this matter.”
Additionally, “Indications of CPR were found,” although, “These preliminary findings will require verification after the results of the investigation and lab results are received.”
In response to the death, the PA’s leadership on Thursday said it will end all security cooperation with Israel, the JNS News service reported. However, a final decision is only to be taken on Friday.
Watch a video clip of IDF Spokesman, Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner, speaking with Sky News about the investigation: