Sister of Bilin victim dies in anti-fence protest
Palestinians report Jawaher Abu Rahma, 36, who suffered tear gas inhalation during anti-fence protest, died in Ramallah hospital. Her brother Bassam was killed in Bilin two years ago after being hit with gas grenade. IDF: Soldiers used tear gas in routine manner
Jawaher Abu-Rahma, who was hurt Friday after inhaling tear gas during a protest in Bilin, died of her wounds on Saturday. Palestinian sources reported that the 36-year-old woman inhaled large quantities of tear gas and died in a Ramallah hospital.
According to doctors, Abu Rahma was admitted suffering from blood poisoning and did not respond to treatment. After a long night the doctors were forced to pronounce her dead Saturday morning.
The IDF said that soldiers used tear gas to disperse Friday's protest in a routine manner. The army added that an initial examination raises doubts regarding Abu Rahma's cause of death and that an investigation is being held.
The IDF initially claimed that Abu Rahma had died in her home but Dr. Muhammad Eida, director of the Palestine Medical Complex said that she did not leave the hospital until her death was pronounced. "Jawaher arrived unconscious and unable to breath on her own yesterday at 3 pm," he said. "We sent her to the intensive care unit. She apparently inhaled large quantities of tear gas which penetrated her blood and caused blood poisoning."
The doctor said that Abu Rahma did not respond to the medical treatment and that her death was pronounced at 9 am.
The official Palestinian news agency also reported that Abu Rahma had died. Three other individuals were injured during the protest, which was attended by some 1,000 demonstrators. According to the Palestinians, dozens more were lightly injured after inhaling tear gas.
Among the protestors were Israeli, Palestinian and foreign activists including Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. They claim that prior to the protest, IDF soldiers hosed them with large quantities of tear gas. Rubber bullets were also used to disperse the demonstrators.
Friday's anti-fence protest in Bilin (Photo: AP)
Six years ago Military Advocate General Major-General Avihai Mandelblit ordered an investigation into the death of Bassam Abu Rahma, who was killed after being hit by a gas grenade during a protest in Bilin in April 2009. A video shot at the time shows Abu Rahma and other protestors approaching the separation fence.
The Israel Defense Forces said at the time that Palestinians were hurling stones and other objects at security forces and were trying to tear the security fence. Despite evidence the case was closed in early 2010, however the JAG eventually changed his mind.
Another family member, Jawaher and Bassam's brother, Ashraf Abu Rahma, was shot during a protest in Naalian while being bound. Some six months ago a military court convicted Lieutenant-Colonel Omri Borberg, former commander of the Armored Corps' 71st Battalion, of attempted threats and the soldier who shot Ashraf with illegal use of weapons. The two were also convicted of conduct unbecoming and their sentence will be given next week.
Hanan Greenberg and Roee Nahmias contributed to this report
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