The Palestinian Authority official in charge of “settlement affairs,” Mr. Ziab Abu Ein, reportedly died on Wednesday following an altercation with Israeli soldiers near the northern Samaria Jewish community of Shilo.
Abu Ein was in the area leading a group of Palestinian protestors who ended up violently confronting local Jewish residents and the Israeli soldiers protecting them.
According to Palestinian reports, during the course of the confrontation, Abu Ein inhaled tear gas and was subsequently struck in the chest by the butt of an Israeli rifle. Israeli eye-witnesses said the Palestinian official was not struck by a rifle.
Whatever the case, Palestinian media later reported that Abu Ein had died en route to a nearby hospital in Ramallah. Israeli army officials appraising the situation said it appeared Abu Ein had died of a heart attack, and noted that he had suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes.
Despite evidence that Israel had played no role in his death, Palestinian Authority officials wasted no time decrying what they called Abu Ein’s “barbaric assassination,” and threatening to end all security cooperation with Jerusalem.
The incident threatened to plunge the region once again into a frenzy of violence as local Arabs, spurred on by Palestinian Authority media incitement, seek “street justice” against the Israelis.
Regarding Ziad Abu Ein himself, the man was more than simply the PA official in charge of opposing Israel’s “settlement activity.”
A long time member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council (also known as the Abu Nidal Organization), a recognized terrorist organization in Europe and the US, Abu Ein was convicted in the 1979 murder of two Israelis in Tiberias. He attempted to flee to the US, but was extradited to Israel in 1981 and sentenced to life in prison a year later.
Like many senior Palestinian leaders who had personally participated in the murder of Israeli Jews, Abu Ein was granted de facto amnesty with the signing of the so-called “Oslo” peace accords.