The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership said it will end all security cooperation with Israel in response to the death of a PA official on Wednesday, despite evidence that the official died of a heart attack and that the Palestinians prevented him from being treated by Israel.
Jibril Rajoub, former head of the PA’s Preventative Security Force, said that the PA would halt “all forms of security coordination with Israel for deliberately killing Minister Ziad Abu Ein,” Ma’an News Agency reported. 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 community of Adi Ad in Judea and Samaria.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF), however, believes that Abu Ein died of a heart attack. IDF paramedics reportedly offered emergency medical assistance to Abu Ein, but the Palestinians instead decided to evacuate him to a hospital in Ramallah, where he died. The IDF has launched an investigation into the incident and said that it is preparing for an upsurge in Palestinian violence following the death.
Both the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups had called on the PA to end security coordination, saying that Israel only understands the “language of force.” PA President Mahmoud Abbas called the incident a “crime in all the meaning of the word.”
Abu Ein was a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in Israel in 1982 after being extradited from the U.S. for the murder of two Israelis in Tiberias in 1979. But Abu Ein was eventually freed in a prisoner swap in 1985.