Israel compensates family of elderly Palestinian American 'beaten to death' by its forces
Israel's defence ministry said Sunday that it had reached a settlement to compensate the family of a Palestinian-American man who died earlier this year after he was detained by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank.
The settlement marks a rare case of compensation in a Palestinian claim against wrongdoing by Israeli military forces and comes after US criticism of Israel.
In January, eighty-year-old Omar Asaad was found dead in an abandoned house where Israeli forces detained him after beating, handcuffing, and dragging him along the ground for some 200 metres.
Asaad, who had lived in the US for four decades, was pronounced dead at a hospital after other Palestinians who had been detained found him unconscious. It was unclear when exactly he died.
The defence ministry said Sunday that it had reached a settlement with Asaad’s family, which had filed a claim against the state in an Israeli court.
The ministry said that "in light of the unfortunate event’s unique circumstances", it agreed to pay the family 500,000 shekels, or about $141,000.
After an outcry from the US government, the Israeli military issued a rare statement earlier this year saying the incident "was a grave and unfortunate event, resulting from moral failure and poor decision-making on the part of the soldiers". It said one officer was reprimanded and two other officers were re-assigned to non-commanding roles, over the incident.
Israeli forces routinely detain, imprison, beat and shoot Palestinians, especially in the West Bank, which Israel has illegally annexed since 1967.
This year, Israeli forces have killed more than 100 Palestinians during almost daily raids in Palestinian villages and cities in the West Bank, including veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.