“These initial findings cannot determine the cause of death,” the ministry said, adding that before receiving results of microscopic and toxicological tests “the cause of death cannot be linked to the findings of the autopsy.”
Kamil Sabbagh, a lawyer who met Jaradat at a military court hearing Thursday, said he bore no signs of violence, but complained of back pains and other aches because of prolonged sitting in an interrogation chair.
Jaradat was in visible “psychological distress,” fearing his return to an isolation cell, Sabbagh said, adding that at his request the judge ordered that Jaradat be given medical care.
The Shin Bet said Jaradat was known to suffer from chronic back pain and was examined several times by a doctor during the interrogation. The questioning proceeded when no medical problems were found, according to the agency’s statement.
News of Jaradat’s death set off clashes between stone-throwing youths and troops near his home village of Sa’ir, north of Hebron, inside the city and in neighboring areas, spreading to other locations in the West Bank, according to reports by the military and Palestinians.
In Hebron, protesters set up barricades of burning tires and hurled rocks and molotov cocktails at soldiers, who responded with stun grenades, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, the army said. One Palestinian was wounded by live fire at al-Aroub refugee camp south of Bethlehem, and two soldiers were lightly injured by stones in other locations, the army said.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad issued a statement expressing “deep sorrow and shock” at Jaradat’s death, and said it was imperative “to promptly disclose the true reasons that led to this martyrdom.”
Qaraqe demanded a “neutral international inquiry” into the death.
“If President Obama wants to visit the region peacefully, he should exert pressure on Israel to release the prisoners — especially the ones who are on hunger strike — or else he will visit while Palestine is on fire,” Qaraqe said at a news conference.
Two of the hunger strikers have been detained without charges for three months. Two others were rearrested months after their release in the 2011 prisoner exchange that freed Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza by the militant Islamist group Hamas. Held on the basis of secret evidence, both of the rearrested prisoners face a possible return to jail for the duration of their original sentences.
One of the rearrested prisoners, Samer Issawi, has been on an intermittent hunger strike for more than 200 days, according to human rights groups monitoring his condition. Mohammad Barakeh, an Israeli Arab parliament member who visited Issawi in a prison medical center, told Israel Radio on Sunday that Issawi was “skin and bones” and had declared that he would stop drinking water.