The head of the Palestinian Authority committee against the separation wall and settlements died Dec. 10 after Israeli soldiers assaulted him in a village near Ramallah, committee sources said. Ziad Abu Ein, 55, died after a soldier beat him on the chest with his helmet in the village of Turmsayya, Ramallah district, the director of the committee's information center, Jamil al-Barghouthi, told Ma'an News Agency. Abu Ein also suffered severe tear gas inhalation as soldiers fired canisters in the area. A Palestinian security source told AFP that Israeli forces beat Abu Ein with the butts of their rifles and their helmets during a protest march. He lost consciousness and was taken to Ramallah's hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
The Israeli army said in a statement that "approximately 200 rioters gathered in Turmus Ayya, near Ramallah. Forces halted the progress of the rioters into the civilian [Israeli settler outpost] community of Adei-Ad using riot dispersal means." It said it was "reviewing the circumstances of the participation of Ziad Abu Ein, and his later death."
A Ma'an reporter said Abu Ein was taking part in a tree-planting project in an area of the village threatened with confiscation. Dozens of other activists were also taking part in the project. President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement that the attack on Abu Ein was a "barbaric action that cannot be ignored or accepted," adding that actions would be taken to hold Israel accountable.
Ziad Abu Ein was a member of the Fatah movement's Revolutionary Council, and served as undersecretary to the minister of prisoner affairs before Abbas appointed him head of the committee against the separation wall and settlements.
From Ma'an News Agency, Dec. 12.