January 31, 2022
Summary of the IDF Commanders’ Investigation regarding the death of Mr. Omar Abdelmajed Assad in the village of Jiljilya
Today, the IDF commanders’ investigation into the activity of IDF soldiers on the night of January 12th, 2022, in the village of Jiljiliya was presented to the Chief of the General Staff, LTG Aviv Kohavi. The commanders’ investigation, carried out by the Head of the Central Command, MG Yehuda Fox, was conducted over the last week and only after the Military Police Criminal Investigation Division (MPCID) questioned the relevant soldiers in order to prevent harming the criminal investigation.

The commanders’ investigation found that IDF carried out operational activities in the village of Jiljiliya to thwart terrorist activities and seize weapons. Within the framework of these counterterrorism activities, IDF soldiers stopped a vehicle for inspection. Mr. Omar Abdelmajed Assad was driving a vehicle and did not have any form of identification and refused to cooperate with the security check. The soldiers attempted to continue the inspection but Assad refused to cooperate. In response, his hands were tied and he was gagged for a short time. Assad was taken to a courtyard of a nearby building along with three other Palestinians, who had also been detained by the IDF. After half an hour, the detainees, including Assad, were released and freed from all constraints. The investigation determined that upon his release, the soldiers did not identify signs of distress or other suspicious signs concerning Assad’s health. The soldiers assessed that Assad was asleep and did not try to wake him. Several hours later, a report was received of Assad’s death. According to the partial findings from the autopsy, carried out by the Palestinians, the cause of death was a heart attack. 

The investigation concluded that the incident was a grave and unfortunate event, resulting from a moral failure and poor decision-making on the part of the soldiers. One of the IDF’s core values—to protect human life—was violated. It was further determined that there was no use of violence during the incident apart from when Assad was apprehended after refusing to cooperate. The soldiers failed in their obligations by leaving Assad lying on the floor without the required treatment and without reporting the incident back to their commanders. There were also gaps in the preparations and implementation of the mission.

The Chief of the General Staff accepted the conclusions of the investigation and determined that the incident showed a clear lapse of moral judgment: “Leaving Mr. Assad alone and without checking his condition was a careless act that runs contrary to the values of the IDF, at the center of which is the requirement to protect the sanctity of any human life.”

The Chief of the General Staff ordered the conclusions from the commanders’ investigation to be studied by all units in order to prevent the recurrence of similar events.  

As a result of the investigation, the Commander of the ‘Netzah Yehuda’ Battalion will be reprimanded by the Head of the Central Command. In addition, the relevant platoon commander and company commander will both be removed from their positions and will not serve in commanding roles for two years. As part of MPCID’s ongoing investigation, a number of officers, soldiers and other witnesses have been questioned. The investigators are acting to collect additional relevant evidence and corroborate testimony from Palestinian witnesses. Upon the conclusion of the MPCID investigation, the findings will be submitted to the Military Advocate Corps for a legal review and determinations.

The IDF deeply regrets the death of Mr. Omar Abdelmajed Assad.
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