Israel pays family of dead Palestinian-American detainee

Oct 9, 2022, 5:21 AM | Updated: 11:51 am
FILE - Mourners take a last look at the body of Omar Asaad, 78, during his funeral at a mosque in t...

FILE - Mourners take a last look at the body of Omar Asaad, 78, during his funeral at a mosque in the West Bank village of Jiljiliya, north of Ramallah, Jan. 13, 2022. Israel said Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, that it reached a settlement to compensate Asaad's family who died earlier this year after he was detained by Israeli troops at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, binding his hands and blindfolding him. He was left face-down in an abandoned building after they unbound his hands where he was later found unconscious and pronounced dead. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)

(AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s Defense 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 alleged wrongdoing by Israeli military forces and comes after U.S. criticism against Israel.

In January, Israeli troops detained Omar Asaad, 78, at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, binding his hands and blindfolding him. Israeli troops then unbound his hands and left him face-down in an abandoned building.

Asaad, who had lived in the U.S. 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.

On Sunday, the Defense Ministry said 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 U.S. 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 reassigned to noncommanding roles, over the incident.

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Israel pays family of dead Palestinian-American detainee