BEITIN, WEST BANK, AUG. 2 -- Family members today accused Israeli soldiers here of killing an elderly Palestinian-American with a heart condition over the weekend.

The American, Rebhi Barakat Kaid, 67, of Columbus, Ohio, died of a heart attack Saturday after three Israeli soldiers ordered him and his 14-year-old Chicago-born grandson to paint over anti-Israeli graffiti on a school wall across from their West Bank family home, his relatives said.

"The Israelis murdered my father," said Jamal Kaid, 32, also of Columbus, as local dignitaries, wearing traditional headdresses, visited to offer condolences. "It is time someone realized what is going on here."

A spokesman for the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem said it was pursuing the case and the Israeli Army announced an investigation.

Israel has occupied this territory of rolling hills of olive and fig groves since its victory in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The Kaids moved to the United States in the wake of the occupation and became U.S. citizens.

The son said Kaid died after he was ordered to climb the 22 steep steps that lead from the house to the street above without being allowed to take his heart medicine first.

"He told them he had a bad heart, that he needed medicine, that he was a U.S. citizen," said Jamal Kaid, as his older brother Mohammed, 41, also of Columbus, nodded in agreement. "The soldiers said, 'No, we don't care if you are Ronald Reagan. It is us who command here and you will do what we tell you.' "

The father started up the stairs with his grandson, then collapsed on the last step and died while the three Israeli soldiers looked on, said a neighbor.

The American's death highlighted the often random nature of Israeli efforts to contain the rebellion of rock-throwing and graffiti-writing youths that began last December. The clashes have cost the lives of 230 Palestinians and three Israelis.

Beitin's several thousand people include many Palestinian-Americans who have retired here. According to residents, the Israeli Army's dispute with Kaid began last Wednesday when a patrol spotted three teen-agers walking in front of his house.

When the three ran behind Kaid's house, some 20 soldiers searched it, finding Kaid's 14-year-old grandson. According to the youth's mother, Hossena, the Army sought to take him away, but she produced his U.S. passport and refused to let him go.

On Saturday, three soldiers returned to the house, which faces a schoolhouse on which was painted "{Prime Minister Yitzhak} Shamir equals Hitler."

Then came the order to paint out the graffiti. It has become standard practice of the Israeli Army in the occupied territories to hold families in the vicinity of trouble responsible for what occurs in their neighborhoods.

"I knew from reading the papers in the United States that things were bad here," said Jamal Kaid, who flew here from Ohio Sunday after hearing of his father's death. "But I didn't expect to find things as bad as they are. There are no human rights here for anyone who was born an Arab, no matter what his nationality is." Photos of his father hung on the walls.

"The Israelis talk as if people here were throwing stones and complaining because they liked to do that," he said. "The truth is they do this not because they are terrorists but because they have no rights in their own country."

Only five minutes' drive from the more militant Palestinian city of Ramallah, Beitin was considered mostly apolitical until the security chief from the Israeli settlement of Ofra nearby killed Nasser Ghanem Hamad, 17, here last January, allegedly in self-defense.

The death of Hamad politicized the town's young people, who since then often have burned tires in the streets or stoned passing Israeli vehicles.

Yesterday, Israeli Attorney General Yosef Harish indicted the settler, Pinhas Wallerstein, well-known as an anti-Arab extremist, for manslaughter in the death of Hamad. Evidence was presented that Wallerstein had chased Hamad into a ravine and shot him.

Hamad was among the first 25 victims of the rebellion.

Today, as Kaid's death was being reported, a Palestinian 18-year-old was killed in Nablus and two others wounded in stoning incidents as the West Bank remained shuttered in the second day of a two-day general strike called to protest Israeli deportation of Palestinian opponents.