Jawaher's mother
Photo: Gil Yohanan
IDF commander: Tear gas not cause of Bilin woman's death
Head of Judea and Samaria Division says documents received from Palestinians show Jawaher Abu-Rahma did not attend anti-fence rally, died of illness. Leftist: IDF's version not based on facts

Israel Defense Forces officials said Friday that the army was about to reach an agreement with official Palestinian sources that the death of Jawaher Abu-Rahma in the West Bank village of Bilin last week was not caused by tear gas fired during an anti-fence rally in the area.


"Our assumptions were verified this week after we received additional documents from the Palestinians," said Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brigadier-General Nitzan Alon.


He added that "the documents and data we received strengthened the understanding that her death was caused by the method of the medical treatment and other medical aspects."


The division commander said some details remained to be examined on the matter, but that further talks would be held with the Palestinians in a bid to reach a final understanding.


"We now understand that she herself was not at the protest, but in a more distant place, where remains of the tear gas may have reached her. But this was not the cause of her death. She died from other illnesses and medical care."


Commenting on the weekly rallies against the separation fence, Nitzan said the IDF distinguishes between a quiet protest and a violent protest, in which demonstrators throw stones at soldiers and police officers.


"In such cases we must use the same crowd dispersal measures we have. We did not find that these measures caused Abu-Rahma's death. We will continue using these measures according to regulations."


Palestinians and left-wing activists have claimed that Abu-Rahma did take part in the rally. "I saw Jawaher actively participating in the protest," Yonatan Pollack of the Anarchists Against the Wall organization told Ynet, while presenting an update on the incident on his Twitter account.


"I saw how they put her in the ambulance that took her to the hospital. I know with certainty that she arrived there and stayed there, and later died at the hospital," he said. "I was in constant telephone contact with people who were at the hospital throughout the night and the following morning."


Despite the problematic findings presented by the army, Pollack insisted that "the IDF's version isn't based on any facts…the only thing the army's claims are based on is the error of a doctor who got one digit wrong when he wrote down the time."



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