The Jawaher Abu-Rahma case is taking on huge political significance, the international attention given to the 36-year-old woman killed by teargas in occupied Bil'in on Friday, a year and a half after her brother Bassem was struck and killed by a teargas canister fired by the Israeli army in another demonstration against the wall. The Israelis are now actively trying to undermine the story. The human-rights attorney Michael Sfard has responded with this statement:
Lawyer Michael Sfard who represents the Abu Rahmah family rejects these claims categorically. According to him, "Jawahir went a week ago for an examination for a common winter illness. According to people with whom I spoke, she was at the protest on Friday, but not in the first line of demonstrators, and after she was injured by the gas, she was removed to the area of the village houses, and from there was moved to the ambulance. The operational investigation cannot uncover reliable data, and therefore we are demanding a criminal investigation by the military police"
What are these claims? First from Muqata:
Senior IDF military sources briefed an exclusive group of bloggers this evening on the events surrounding this past Friday's Bilin 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).
And this from Ynet's Hanan Greenberg:
Did Palestinians lie about death of Jawaher Abu-Rahma?
Two days after reports that an anti-fence protestor died after inhaling tear gas fired by IDF troops, the army says medical information handed over to Israel raises fundamental question marks about the story. According to IDF officials, Abu-Rahma may have not even participated in the protest in question.
Sources familiar with the material said that unlike similar incidents in the past, the report about Abu-Rahma's injuries arrived late and contained puzzling details. According to the medical report, there was no clear cause of death, the burial was undertaken via an accelerated procedure, and no post-mortem was performed. The information also reveals that Abu-Rahma was administered an unusual quantity of drugs, used to offer treatment against poisoning, drug overdose, or leukemia. Moreover, her family's report that she was "hurt by Israeli gas" was not corroborated by any other source.
One of the Israeli claims is that not much teargas was used. But Jewish Voice for Peace's twitter feed clearly contradicts that claim-- it was "raining" gas--as do Lisa Goldman's feeds posted here the other day. We're awaiting updates on the case.