Alerts and Reports 

A demonstrator killed in Bil'in - the first victim of 2011

A few hours after learning of the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah, killed in a demonstration at Bil'in by inhaling "tear gas", hundreds gathered at the gates of the Defense Ministry to express their protest - see video.

Jawaher ("Gem" in Arabic) died in the first hours of 2011, after inhaling on the day before a large quantity of tear gas, whose precise nature remains unclear. It happened during the weekly demonstration against the "Separation Fence" in Bil'in, which was this time larger than usual. It seems that military commanders decided to respond with huge quantities of gas. Jawaher collapsed in a cloud of gas and inhaled it for several minutes, before the Red Crescent medics managed to reach her.

This 36-year-old woman, far from well off herself and maintaining her young brothers, is not the first casualty of the Abu–Rahma Family. Her brother was killed in similar circumstances two years ago, when hit by a tear gas canister shot at a close range. Another Abu-Rahma was sentenced to prison.

Immediately afterwards, the official lie machine got into high gear. It was falsely claimed that the Palestinian hospital in Ramallah gave conflicting messages about where she died, and the army denied that any special kind of gas was used. It was also asserted that she suffered from asthma, which was immediately denied by her family.

"Democracy is not built on demonstrators' dead bodies!" chanted participants at the demonstration, accompanied by ceaseless rhythmic drumming "Barak Barak, hey hey hey, how many demonstrators did you kill today?" / "The blood of protesters is not cheap, dismantle the fence, bury it deep!" / "We will neither kill nor die in the service of the settlers'!" / "No more killing, no more bereavement, the fence must fall!".

The demonstration began as a quiet protest, but the provocative behavior of the Riot Police soon led to conflict. A police officer slapped former Knesset Member MK Mossi Raz - and when Raz demanded to know his name, he (Raz) was immediately arrested.

When the demonstration was about to end, police suddenly assaulted the demonstrators who were already dispersing. This immediately precipitated a new protest, several dozen meters from the previous site, with demonstrators sitting down on the road. Among them were Jonathan Pollack, just sentenced to three months in prison for participating in a bicycle demonstration in Tel-Aviv two years ago, and former Knesset Member Uri Avnery. The confrontation lasted several hours, culminating with the detention of eight protesters.

Later that night, some of the demonstrators arrived at the home of the U.S. Ambassador in Herzliya, and threw into his yard empty tear gas containers collected in the fields of Bil'in on which was emblazoned the inscription "Made in the USA". Of this group, eleven were arrested, and the police is reportedly considering charging them with "possession of weapons"...

See also description on Adam Keller's blog: Facing the towers and the powers

David Reeb's video report