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Palestinian Woman, Jawaher Abu Rahmah, Killed by Israeli Poison Gas in Bil'in

Nonviolent Protestor Killed After Being Asphyxiated by Tear Gas in Bil’in

Sunday January 02, 2011 00:28 by Ane Irazabal - IMEMC News

Jawaher Abu Rahma, aged 36, died on Saturday, after suffering the effects of tear gas inhalation fired by the Israeli occupation forces during the Friday weekly protest in Bil’in. Medical sources reported that the cause of the death was suffocation from tear gas chemicals mixed with phosphorus.

Hundreds of Palestinians, internationals and Israeli peace activists attended Abu Rahma's funeral in a procession through the village of Bil'in on Saturday, in which residents released a statement condemning the death.

“The loss of Jawaher Abu Rahma makes us feel more determined to continue to resist against the illegal settlements and the apartheid wall, until the residents of Bil'in achieve justice and freedom and can live in peace,” the statement underlined.

Bil'in popular committee spokesman Jonathan Pollak said in a statement that Abu Rahmah arrived at the Ramallah hospital unconscious, after being poisoned by an active ingredient in the tear gas, and doctors were unable to revive her.

“She did not die because of a lack of medical treatment, but because Israeli forces used a lethal tear gas banned in several European countries,” Pollak added.

Although several sources reported that Jawaher was taking part to the nonviolent protest on Friday, local witnesses claimed that she was not attending the demonstration, as she was in her home, approximately 500 meters away from where the gas canisters landed.

Jawaher Abu Rahma was the sister of Bassem Abu Rahma, who was also killed after being hit by a tear gas canister in 2009 during a nonviolent weekly demonstration against the Annexation Wall in Bil'in.

On Saturday, the Israeli army stated that they would investigate the death of Abu Rahma, without giving any other explanations, Ma'an News reported.

Lawyer slams army cover-up of tear gas death

Published today (updated) 02/01/2011 14:23


The lawyer of the family of a Palestinian woman who died after being tear-gassed by Israeli occupation soldiers at a West Bank protest accused the military on Sunday of a cover-up.

"Once again the (Israeli occupation) army is covering up the actions of its men, instead of apologizing and conducting a serious inquiry," Michael Sfard told Israel's army radio after the military announced an investigation into the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah.

The 36-year-old died in hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah after collapsing on Friday during a protest against the Israeli separation barrier in the nearby village of Bil'in, hospital staff said.

Sfard accused the army of "using a massive amount of gas" during the protest.

The Israeli military said that an "investigation has been opened to determine the exact cause of death," and that it had "unsuccessfully contacted the Palestinian Authority to obtain a medical report."

On Friday, the military said it had used unspecified "means of dispersing demonstrations" against some 250 violent protesters taking part in a weekly rally against the fence near the West Bank village of Bil'in.

Photos showed clouds of tear gas billowing around stone-throwing protesters.

Abu Rahmah's death has been condemned as a "war crime" by the Palestinians.

"We condemn this abominable crime by the Israeli occupation army in Bil'in against people taking part in a peaceful demonstration and consider it an Israeli war crime against our people," Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP on Saturday.

Nearly 200 demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest against Abu Rahmah's death. A dozen people were arrested, an AFP correspondent reported.

Overnight on Saturday, another 11 people were arrested after demonstrating outside the US ambassador's residence in the city of Herzliya, just north of Tel Aviv.

"There was a local disturbance about 12:30am outside the ambassador's residence," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. "Apparently the group had thrown two empty gas grenades at the residence."

Rosenfeld said 11 people were arrested, including a female German citizen, but said he had no information on whether the incident was a protest.

Israeli military radio said the incident was a demonstration linked to Abu Rahmah's death.

Israel says the projected 723 kilometers of steel and concrete walls, fences and barbed wire is needed for security. The Palestinians view it as a land grab that undermines their promised state.

The International Court of Justice issued a non-binding ruling in 2004 calling for parts of the barrier inside the West Bank to be torn down and for further construction in the territory to cease.

Israel has ignored the ruling.

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