In recent days, much has been made of the IDF’s supposed killing of palestinian woman Jawaher Abu Rahma, the apparent victim of teargas.
As the AFP reported two days ago:
A Palestinian woman died after being teargassed by Israeli troops at a West Bank protest, sparking a protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday and drawing Palestinian talk of “a war crime.”
Jawaher Abu Rahma, 36, 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 Bilin, hospital staff said.
The army 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 army 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 Bilin.
“We condemn this abominable crime by the Israeli occupation army in Bilin 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.
The hospital did not say if Abu Rahma suffered from asthma or any other condition that could have aggravated the effects of the gas.
At her funeral in Bilin on Saturday, about 3,000 mourners accompanied her body, which was draped in a Palestinian flag.
Her mother Subhiya, 64, clutched a picture of her daughter and sobbed.
“Jawaher asked to be a martyr; now she is a martyr,” she said.
Acquaintances said the dead woman’s brother, Bassem Abu Rahma, was killed during an April 2009 protest at the same site, when he was hit on the head by a tear gas canister fired at close range.
Another brother, Ashraf, was filmed by activists being shot in the leg with a rubber-coated bullet by a soldier while he was bound and blindfolded in the aftermath of a 2008 anti-barrier protest at the village of Nilin, near Bilin.
The video was widely distributed and caused a media storm, leading two years later to the conviction for “unbecoming conduct” of the soldier and an officer who was present at the time.
Palestinians joined by Israeli and foreign activists protesting against Israel’s construction of the West Bank barrier have clashed with soldiers nearly every Friday outside Bilin and Nilin for years.
Nearly 200 demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest against Abu Rahma’s death. A dozen people were arrested, an AFP correspondent reported.
Despite the lack of evidence that tear gas inhalation was responsible for her death (in fact, some reports indicated she was not even at the protest, but rather watching from near her family home tens of metres away, and “became ill when gusts of wind swept a thick plume of tear gas in her direction”), Israel was attacked from all quarters (including from some of the usual suspects) and the supposed victim’s family was portrayed as graceful in the face of this Israeli aggression.
Ahmed Abu Rahmah has three surviving brothers; their father died five years ago.
“My entire family is ruined,” he said on Sunday. “The whole house feels a sense of catastrophe.” He said he bears no hatred toward Israelis. “They are people just like myself. We don’t seek vengeance against Israel. We want the return of our lands, and the struggle won’t end until our property is restored.
I guess the warning bells should have sounded first when the palestinians refused to co-operate with the IDF, louder when the woman’s proximity from the protest was revealed, and louder still when Saeb Erekat accused Israel of a war crime.
But now, the truth has come out.
Via Israel’s Channel 10 earlier tonight:
צה”ל: המפגינה מבלעין מתה מסרטן ולא משאיפת גז מדמיע שירה צה”ל
בצה”ל טוענים כי מות המפגינה, ג’והאר אבו רחמא, בבלעין היה מפוברק. תחקיר צה”ל, שבוצע בעקבות טענות הפלסטינים שהיא מתה משאיפת גז מדמיע שירה צה”ל בבלעין בסוף השבוע, קובע כי היא כלל לא הייתה בהפגנה. ככל הנראה אבו רחמא מתה מסרטן הריאות או סרטן הדם. עוד קובע התחקיר, כי הפלסטינית אושפזה במשך עשרה ימים בבית החולים ברמאללה לפני שמתה ושמדובר בפרשה חדשה שנועדה ליצור דה לגיטימציה לישראל. (אור הלר)
Here’s the auto-translation for the Hebrew-impaired:
IDF: Bil’in demonstrator died of cancer nor inhaled tear gas fired by the IDF
The IDF said the death of the demonstrator, Johar Abu Rahmah, Bil’in was fabricated. The IDF investigation was conducted following the Palestinian claims that she died after inhaling tear gas fired by the IDF at Bil’in weekend, states that she never had the protest. Apparently Abu Rahmah died of lung cancer or leukemia. the investigation also states that the Palestinian was hospitalized for ten days in the hospital in Ramallah before she died and that a new case designed to delegitimize Israel. (or Heller)
In short: there is reason to believe she died of cancer.
Which also explains why the brother stated he bore no hatred towards Israelis for killing her. Because he knows we didn’t.
Once again, Israel has been readily blamed and demonized by the media, who have been all too willing to swallow up everything the palestinians claimed, as improbable as it was.
I demand a complete retraction and apology from them.
I won’t be holding my breath.
Update: About an hour ago, a security source held a briefing with some bloggers. While I was invited, I could not attend, but here’s a summary by one of the bloggers who did.
Senior IDF military sources briefed an exclusive group of bloggers this evening on the events surrounding this past Friday’s Biyalin demonstration and the “alleged tear gassing to death” of a Palestinian woman, Jawaher Abu Rahma.
IDF: We have reason to believe that the death 2 days ago was because of another reason than what the Palestinians are claiming (tear gas inhalation).
Facts: Abu Rahma’s documented lab work is dated on Friday at 2:45 PM.
Her admission time to the ER in the same Ramallah hospital was 3:20 PM.
Hospital Lab work is usually done after you arrive at the hospital, not before you arrive.
There is no hospital ER admission report, no ER summary report, and no hospital records of this woman.
The official PA Ramallah Hospital’s death certificate for Abu Rahma states as the cause of death as follows (this is word for word):
Cause of death “Inhaling gas of an Israeli solider according to the family”
That is the entire medical basis for the family’s allegations.
We know this woman visted the same hospital 10 days ago and many other times in the past month. When we looked at the medication she was taking – it was for cancer.
We have never heard of anyone dying from inhaling tear gas (5 years of experience with this particular tear gas). There were hundreds of other rioters in the same open air location, in broad daylight and yet she was the only one “allegedly” affected by the gas.
Palestinians claim she has been participating in the riots for the past 5 years as her brother is the head leader of the weekly Biyalin riots.
However, there are no photos of this woman participating at this riot or ANY riot over the past 5 years, and these riots occur on a weekly basis and are heavily photographed and documented.
We always see photos of rioters – yet this time, no photos appeared of this woman.
We believe there are many unsolved questions – and our assumptions are:
1. Abu Rahma wasn’t event at the riot
2. Abu Rahma died at her home
3. Abu Rahma was chronicly ill
Additionally, the IDF buys this tear gas/riot-dispersal method from companies abroad, and this is the same non-lethal tear gas used by riot control forces around the Western world.
More details to be updated here in a few minutes (10:00 PM)
Update; 10:04 PM
IDF has heard about the honor killing theory, that Abu Rahma was stabbed to death for being pregnant as a family “honor killing”, however they cannot confirm this and the direction they currently are progressing is more in towards death from a chronic illness.
Israel’s High Court ruled that the IDF must change the path of the security fence to go outside of Bil’in, thereby agreeing to the Palestinian claims. The new fence is under construction and should be completed within a few months. The IDF will remove the older fence once the new one is complete — therefore the current riots are completely propaganda.
Abu Rahma’s brother was the primary leader of the riots – therefore we would expect his sister to be by his side – but there’s no documentation of her being at any of the riots over the past 5 years, or at this one in particular.
Lastly, the reports to the press and IDF from the Palestinians is that 1 person was lightly wounded in the riot, and released from the Ramallah hospital to their home, an hour after admittance. The reports were changed later that two people in total were lightly wounded and released after an hour.