Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Israel on Wednesday that "all options are open" for a Palestinian response to the death earlier today of a senior Palestinian official, Ziad Abu Ein, after a confrontation with Israeli troops.
"What happened is a crime by all means, we cannot sit idle and silent (after) this crime," CNN cited the Palestinian president as saying during an emergency session of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.
"For that, this leadership is meeting now to decide what it wants, and I say honestly all options are open for discussion and for implementation. ... We don't have any other solutions," the report quoted Abbas' response.
The Palestinian president said that the Palestinians are "determined to continue popular resistance, determined to fight against settlements and determined to continue our struggle until the occupation ends."
In the session, Abbas held up a photo of the Israeli officer grabbing Abu Ain's throat. Palestinians circulated the photo on social media under the hashtag #ICantBreathe – drawing a link to the chokehold killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in New York.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office issued a statement saying that the prime minister had sent a message via his personal envoy, attorney Yitzhak Molcho, to the Palestinian Authority, according to which Israel will investigate the incident that took place today near Ramallah.
The statement said that Netanyahu, who has been holding security consultations throughout the day, noted the need to calm the situation on the ground and act responsibly.
Abbas claimed that "Israel will shake off responsibility for this shameful crime, by using several scenarios they will present tomorrow, after the investigation."
He mockingly said that Israel would say that "one of the soldiers suffers from a clinical illness and has no responsibility for his actions, another suffers from mental illness and has no responsibility for his actions, another lost his head because he didn't see that the youths were holding stones and another soldier could not imagine that those who arrived at those lands wanted to plant our olive trees there."
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz convened a situation assessment meeting on Wednesday evening with senior General Staff officers during which it was decided to reinforce security in the West Bank. Reinforcements include two battalions and two Border Police units. The IDF said it will look into the circumstances of Abu Ein's death and termed it a "regrettable incident".
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) commander Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, said that Abu Ein's body will undergo an autopsy attended by Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli pathologists.
Abu Ein, a Palestinian Authority cabinet minister with responsibility for the settlements and the separation fence, collapsed and died in the afternoon hours. Palestinian sources claimed the minister, who reportedly suffered from an unspecified illness and which could have played a role in his death, had been hit in the chest by the butt of a soldier's gun, and then collapsed. However the circumstances of his death remain unclear, and the possibility is being examined that the minister suffered a heart attack.
News agencies contributed to this report.