Death of Asel Asleh
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The death of Asel Asleh occurred on 2 October 2000 when a Palestinian-Israeli (Arab citizen of Israel) and peace activist was killed at the onset of the Second Intifada by the Israel security forces. Asleh was 17 years old at the time of his death.
Asel Asleh (Arabic: أسيل عاصلة, Hebrew: אסיל עאסלה; May 6, 1983 – October 2, 2000) was from the village of Arraba in the Lower Galilee. He had been a member of the international conflict resolution organization Seeds of Peace since 1997. Prior to his death, Asleh described himself as "a Palestinian-Israeli". He had many Jewish friends and was killed while wearing the Seeds of Peace T-shirt.
Asleh attended a protest in his village on 2 October. Trying to disperse the protest, an Israeli Security Forces unit shot tear-gas and live ammunition at the protesters. The precise actions which led to the death of Asleh were unclear; the police officers stated that they did not know how he was killed, while his cousin said that he had seen a gun pointed at Asleh and then he heard three shots. A physician who treated the youth commented that Asleh was shot in the neck at point-blank range, and that crucial time had been lost when the police delayed the arrival of an ambulance. Officers said he was already shot when they found him lying in the olive grove. Eventually, Asleh died at Nahariya Hospital. The examination by the Or Commission reached a very advanced stage but ended when the Asleh family refused to allow the exhumation of Asel's body to extract the bullets which killed Asleh for tests.
Or Commission, the October 2000 events and further investigations
Including Asleh, 13 Arab citizens of Israels were killed. Asel's father successfully led a campaign to investigate the death of his son and others killed in October 2000. Subsequently, the October 2000 events were investigated by the Israeli-government appointed Or Commission. The Or Commission heavily condemned Israeli police for being unprepared for the protests and possibly using excessive force to disperse the protesters. Asel's father, Hassan, is head of the Committee of the Victims’ Families, which has sought to keep pressure on the official responsible for the death of Asleh and the other twelve killed in October 2000. In October 2006, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the main suspect in Asleh's killing refused a lie detector test six times. On October 24, 2000, three weeks after Asleh's death, United Kingdom MP Richard Burden opened a debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by noting Asleh's recent death and the lack of autopsy and investigation to that point.
In February 2008, members of Seeds of Peace led a protest in front of Israel's Ministry of Justice demanding that it reopen the investigation into the October 2000 events, specifically the death of former Seed Asleh. The protesters also sent letters to Attorney General Menahem Mazuz and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asking if the victims had been Jews if the case would be reopened.
On September 30, 2010, 6,000 Arab citizens of Israel and supporters led a procession marking the 10 year anniversary of Asleh and the 12 other Arabs killed in October 2000. The protesters called officials to try the police officers allegedly responsible for the killings. MK Ahmad Tibi said "These past 10 years have been filled with anger and pain for the victims' families, and for the general Arab public. They represent a black mark on the history of the State of Israel," On 1 October, the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee declared a one-day strike to commemorate the youth.
- In Search of Peace On Common Ground New York Times, August 29, 1999
- Police Killings of Israeli Arabs Being Questioned by Inquiry New York Times, 15 June 2001
- Suspect Haaretz Print Edition, 18 October 2006
- Ned Lazarus Slate.com, November 9, 2001
- Adalah: We will Seek the Establishment of an Independent, Impartial Investigatory Committee with the Participation of International Experts in Response to AG Mazuz's Decision to Close the October 2000 Killings Cases Adalah, 29 January 2008
- Main suspect in October 2000 killing refused lie detector test six times Haaretz, 18 October 2006
- The Middle East situation Epolitix, October 24, 2000
- Seeds of Peace alumni rally for October riots victims Jerusalem Post, February 6, 2008
- Israeli Arab MK: Racism in Israel has reached frightening levels Haaretz, 30 September 2010
- Israeli bullet ends a life in two worlds The Washington Post, October 5, 2000
- Asel is gone Salon.com, 7 October 2000
- 'And then the night came down' Al Jazeera International, 6 October 2010
- A Jewish American's Friendship With A Young Palestinian: Tragedy And Peace KUOW-FM, 21 May 2011