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Sunday, January 02, 2011

What's the PA trying to hide in protester death? (UPDATED)

From JPost:
The Palestinian Authority on Saturday rejected an IDF offer to jointly investigate the death of a Palestinian woman who had participated in a rally against the security barrier in her West Bank village of Bil’in. Security forces at the scene lobbed tear gas at a crowd in which Jawaher Abu Rahma, 36, stood on Friday.

Rahma died on Saturday morning, allegedly due to complications after inhaling tear gas. Her body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag, held aloft on a gurney and carried by chanting mourners to the Bil’in cemetery.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas called the Rahma family to express his condolences.

He said, “This new Israeli crime comes as part of a series of crimes carried out by the army of the occupation against our helpless nation.”

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the killing of Abu Rahma was a “war crime.”

“We condemn this shocking crime committed by the Israeli army against participants in a peaceful protest,” said Erekat.

the PA rejected an IDF request to receive Abu Rahma’s medical file so that it could determine the cause of death. It also rejected an IDF request to establish a joint commission of inquiry with the PA, which it has done in the past after similar incidents.

This raises suspicions about what really happened,” one source said.

Central Command sources said that after the protest was dispersed, the IDF received a report from the Palestinians that two activists were treated for inhaling tear gas. The sources said that the IDF fired the tear gas to disperse a violent protest.

On Friday night, the IDF learned that the two Palestinians had been released to their homes and then on Saturday morning they received a report that one of them died.
Now, let's talk about the veracity of someone who claims to know that she really died from tear-gas:
But Jonathan Pollak, a spokesman for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, said that Rahma was taken from the protest to a hospital in Ramallah, where doctors worked to save her life.

She was unconscious when she arrived and she never regained consciousness, Pollak said. Rahma suffered from severe asphyxiation caused by the tear gas, he said. She had poison in her body that was the same active ingredient in the tear gas, he added.
Why exactly would a spokesman for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee have seen Rahma's medical file, when the IDF can't?
Pollak said that Friday’s demonstration was especially large because it was the last one of the year. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad addressed the protesters at the start of the rally but then left Bil’in.

After his departure, the IDF shot an “unusual amount of tear gas” at the demonstration, Pollak said. “They did it to disperse the demonstration,” which was “completely peaceful,” he said.
Here's a photo of that "completely peaceful" demonstration:
So now we know that Pollak is a liar and possibly trying to hide something.

The question is, what?

An intriguing rumor, so far with no evidence, from My Right Word quoting an unnamed source:
Very unconfirmed reports that Jawaher Abu Rahma of Bil'in was actually killed in an honor killing because she was pregnant (stabbed in the back)

No confirmation details yet. But there may be more to this story than the already contradictory Palestinian reports that can't decide where she died (at home or in the hospital).
I have no idea if there is any truth to that, but it would explain why the PA refuses to undertake a joint investigation with the IDF - something they have happily done in the past. The fact that they are using Rahma's death to score propaganda points so quickly is another red flag, as is the inconsistent stories given by the PA. (Israel Matzav has a video that shows an injured female protester, still conscious.)

Rahma's brother had been killed at a similar protest in Bil'in a couple of years ago and if she was in fact pregnant it would have been a huge embarrassment for her, as a symbol of resistance, to be found to have done something shameful.

While this is uncomfortably close to a conspiracy theory for my tastes, more information is needed, and the PA is clamming up. One can only wonder why.

UPDATE: Another version of the story, given by Abu Rahma's cousin on Facebook Hamde Abu:

The death of Jawaher Abu Rahma was reported in the afternoon in 1/1/11, the first day of the new year. The primary cause of death was suffocation from tear gas chemicals mixed ...with phosphorus (shot by Israeli Defense Forces at protestors, in a peaceful Friday weekly demonstration) according to the doctor that attended her. Jawaher was not present at the demonstration. She was in her home, approximately 500 meters away from where the gas canisters landed, when she suffered the effects of gas that was carried over the village by wind. The chemicals caused poisoning in her lungs, which caused suffocation and the stopping of the heart, leading to her death after fighting for her life overnight at Ramallah Hospital.
She wasn't even at the protest, and the tear gas (mixed with phosphorus, naturally!) managed to kill her from 500 meters away while no one else was hurt????

Curiouser and curiouser!