‘They’re terrified of the possible results’: US considers cutting funds to notorious Israeli army unit

The drive into the village of Jiljiliya is not what you expect on the West Bank. Imposing mansions line the route, with grand gates and lavish decorations.

That’s because this is where Palestinian Americans return to build their dream homes after years of hard work in the land of opportunity.

Like Omar Assad who came back after 45 years in Milwaukee. But for him, retirement was neither long nor happy. It was cut brutally short one freezing night in January 2022.

He was returning from a game of cards when he was stopped at a makeshift checkpoint set up by the notorious Israeli army unit, Netzah Yehuda.

The IDF says he did not cooperate so the 78-year-old was detained with force.

Mraweh Mahmoud was with him.

“They took us down from the car and pushed me by the head,” he told Sky News. “The soldier was standing there and put an M16 in my head and said now I’ll shoot you.”

Mr Assad was tied up, gagged and blindfolded, Mr Mahmoud said, and forced to lie next to him. When the soldiers eventually left Mr Mahmoud realized Mr Assad was dead.

“I took his jacket off his head, I checked there’s no pulse, I shouted Omar, Omar,” he said.

Palestinian doctors say Mr Assad died in freezing temperatures of a stress-induced heart attack. An Israeli military report condemned the soldiers’ “moral failure and poor decision-making”.