Tensions escalated in West Bank and east Jerusalem on Thursday as clashes erupted between the Palestinians and Israeli border police over conflicting reports on the death of a Palestinian Cabinet minister.
Ziad Abu Ein died following a scuffle with the Israeli troops during a protest demonstration on Wednesday near Adei Ad, an Israeli outpost in the West Bank.
In a statement, the Palestinian Authority (PA) blamed Israel for his “murder”.
Though the Israeli pathologist who participated in the autopsy claimed that the team, which included a Palestinian and a Jordanian pathologist, concluded that Abu Ein died of stress-induced heart attack.
“The autopsy results of Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein show that he died after a powerful blow to the diaphragm and the heavy use of tear gas”, Hussein al-Sheikh, Palestinian minister of civil affairs, said.
“The reason for the death of Abu Ein was his being hit by (Israeli) occupation troops…,” he said.
“We will refer the autopsy results to the Palestinian leadership to take the decisions they want,” al-Sheikh said adding that “if Israel admits to the murder of Abu Ein, there will be no need to go to the International Criminal Court.”
Sabir al-Aloul, director of forensic medicine in the Palestinian Ministry of Health, told Ma’an news agency that a strike to Abu Ein’s face dislodged his front teeth and forced them to the back of his throat, near the epiglottis.
“After hearing the results of the post-mortem, the Palestinian government holds Israel fully responsible for the killing of Ziad Abu Ein,” PA spokesman Ihab Bseiso said.
However, Israel’s Health Ministry’s version of the cause of the death says that the three pathologists concluded that the death was caused by blockage in the coronary artery, and that there were signs of light internal bleeding and localised pressure on the neck.
The deceased suffered from heart disease, and there was evidence that plaque buildup were clogging more than 80 per cent of his blood vessels, as well as signs that he had suffered heart attacks in the past, Israeli media reported.
Abu Ein’s died during a demonstration by 300 Palestinians who wanted to plant Olive trees as a symbolic act of protest against Israeli settlements in the West Bank.