The IDF Killed a Palestinian US Citizen. Why Is the US Doing Nothing?

Assad Assad, Omar Abdulmajeed Asad’s nephew, describes his uncle Omar as a social and caring man. Omar immigrated to America in the 1970s. He became a small business owner in Milwaukee. He and his wife had seven kids and many grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Omar Asad retired in Jaljulia, Palestine, 10 years ago. He was originally from there.

According to his nephew, Asad loved family gatherings. He would often visit and check on relatives. He was returning from a large family gathering at 2:30 am on January 11. At this time, members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) — the military force that carries out the occupation of Palestine — were executingAn overnight raid in Jaljulia Night raids can be arranged. commonIDF soldiers practice this tactic to intimidate Palestinians while they are asleep.

As Asad drove through his village to get home, he was reportedlyIDF soldiers pulled him from his car, handcuffed and gagged him with plastic zip ties, blindfolded his eyes, and forced him to lie on the stomach. He was then dragged by soldiers for 200 meters, and beaten to death. His nephew claimed that about 40 soldiers were watching as the 80-year old man was repeatedly struck by armed soldiers over his entire body. Asad succumbed to a heart attack, and was left unconscious and handcuffed on the ground.

“He was buried with bruises across his entire body,” said Asad’s nephew, Assad. “What kind of threat does an 80-year-old man pose to armed Israeli soldiers? He was barely able to walk and they viciously beat him to death.”

Omar Asad was an American citizen. This fact has brought his story more media attention than it would have otherwise. However, this fact shouldn’t matter — and in many ways, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of a Palestinian’s national protections as a typically stateless person, Israel exhibits a reckless disregard for Palestinian life. Omar Asad was killed by Israel’s strongest ally, the United States. The United States responded indifferently to this incident. Ned Price, spokesperson at the State Department, stated that Omar Asad was killed on January 13. said the department got in touch with Asad’s family to express their condolences, and that it has also “been in touch with Israel to ‘seek clarification’ about ‘this incident.’” Somehow, the United States managed to “two-sides” the beating and killing of an 80-year-old man — a standard feature of any commentary they provide on Israel’s violent actions.

Despite Israel’s existing occupationPalestine and apartheidThe United States has a system that subjugates Palestinians within and beyond its borders. consideringAddition of Israel into the Visa Waiver Program. This would mean that U.S. and Israeli citizens traveling between the U.S. and Israel won’t need visas to enter either country. Gilad Erdan, the outgoing Israeli Ambassador to America claimsBy mid-2022, Israel will be a member of the program. This would systematically cement Israeli apartheid in the U.S. immigration process. Americans already scrutinize Muslims and Palestinians very closely. Many are deported and denied entry to the United States border simply for being Palestinians.

Omar Asad’s brutal killing illustrates how Palestinian Americans are unprotected by the United States, whose loyalty is to Israel first. Most countries on visa waiver list have a reciprocity requirement. This means both countries must allow in almost all citizens of the other. Israel and its U.S. supporters have previously lobbied for an exception that would allow it to deny U.S. citizens entry to Israel under the auspices of “national security.” This would subject U.S. citizens to Israel’s existing apartheid policies at the border — and serve as a blank check for the Israeli government to blacklist, profile and ban entry to U.S. citizens, especially of Palestinian, Arab or Muslim descent.

Meanwhile, Palestinian American and Muslim communities in the U.S. have organized and mobilized to demand action by the U.S. government for Asad’s death. Someone who had community ties in Milwaukee, his family and the Milwaukee’s Islamic community hosted an ‘azaa, or gathering to offer condolences to the family. His daughter Hala Hamad told The Washington Post, “We want a thorough investigation from the U.S. government and the U.N. because [Israel] can’t investigate their own crimes.” Ned Price had previously said they were going to reference Israeli investigations into the “incident.”

American Palestine advocacy organizations such as American Muslims for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace regularly start campaigns to lobby for condemnation of the killing, exile and imprisonment of Palestinians living in the homeland. They may be stateless, or have other national privileges. In lobbying for accountability and condemnation of the killing of Omar Asad, a U.S. citizen, it is imperative we demand accountability from the very source of funding for Israel’s war crimes — the United States itself. Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (my organization)AJP Action) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization advocating for legislation supporting the human rights of the Palestinian people. AJP Action has mobilized its constituencies through an action alert, which makes it easy for constituents to directly contact their Congress members and demand the U.S. State Department pursue an independent investigation, per the family’s wishes. Representatives sent around 3,000 emails to their Congress members demanding accountability for Omar Asad. Nearly 200 tweets were sent and more than 1,300 supporters joined the cause.

We have yet to see the results of these actions as a solid government action. Rep. Marie Newman (D-Illinois), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), Rep. Debbie Dingell(D-Michigan). Rep. Gwen Moore(D-Wisconsin), issued public statements condemning Asad’s killing. (Sen. Tammy Baldwin(D-Wisconsin), also sent condolences via Twitter but it has since been deleted.

Ayah Ziyadeh, AJP Action Advocacy Director, stated this. Truthout,

Six Palestinians have been murdered this year, and it is only January 19. As American citizens, we demand that our tax dollars do not go to extrajudicial killings, home demolitions, and other war crimes in Palestine. Omar Asad’s family deserves accountability and justice. We, the Palestinian Americans, demand that the funding of apartheid and occupation of Palestine is stopped. The U.S. must cease being an enabler for these unlawful killings, and the illegal occupation Palestinians, and begin to hold Israel accountable.

The Palestinian American community and the Palestine solidarity movements at large stand with Omar Abdulmajeed Asad’s family and we pledge to work towards their justice and subsequent peace.