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Sunday, January 2, 2011

[By Vic Rosenthal, crossposted from FresnoZionism.]

News item:

BILIN, Palestinian Territories (AFP) -- A Palestinian woman died after being teargassed by Israeli troops at a West Bank protest, sparking a protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday and drawing Palestinian talk of "a war crime."

Jawaher Abu Rahma, 36, died in hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah after collapsing on Friday during a protest against the Israeli separation barrier in the nearby village of Bilin, hospital staff said.

The army said that an "investigation has been opened to determine the exact cause of death," and that it had "unsuccessfully contacted the Palestinian Authority [PA] to obtain a medical report."

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, was also at the "protest" -- a weekly gathering of hundreds of Palestinian Arabs, Israeli extremists and international activists who attempt to destroy the security barrier.

idfpalprobilin.jpg

Protester uses sling to throw a rock at security forces in Bili'in Friday. IDF photo.

PA Spokesman Saeb Erekat called the woman's death "an abominable crime... an Israeli war crime." The Peace Now group has called on Israel to create a commission to study "IDF conduct" at the protest, and hundreds of demonstrators protested at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv Saturday night.

But questions remain about what really happened. There are conflicting reports about whether she actually died in the hospital or if she had been treated and released, and only later died at her home. The Jerusalem Post reports that

...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.

There is also another unconfirmed story that Abu Rahma was only lightly injured at the demonstration, but was killed later by a family member for reasons of 'honor' -- she was allegedly pregnant.

Clearly this would change the whole picture, if true. But if it's not, then why won't the PA release the medical file or cooperate with the IDF?

It's not as though the PA has a great record of telling the truth about alleged Israeli 'war crimes'. We can't forget the al-Dura affair, in which the horrifying death of a child was fabricated and used as a pretext for war and murder.

Even if the allegations are true, the protests are unfailingly violent, with attempts made to harm police and soldiers who are trying to prevent the participants from destroying the security barrier. There is no totally safe way to accomplish this, something the protest leaders are aware of and depend upon. But the alternative of simply allowing the barrier to be destroyed is not acceptable.

Martin Solomon adds:

I've already heard claims that the tear gas (extremely difficult to die from) was "laced with phosphorus," so we've entered the realm of the bizarre and possible Pollywood.

Bilin has long been known for being Rent-a-Crowd Fridays in Palestine, a favorite stop for leftist outrage tourists. These "nonviolent" protests are also well known as anything but, and fortunately the IDF has released a few photos (one shown by Vic above), including not just stone throwing but use of a molotov cocktail (see last photo). Elder has more on this: What's the PA trying to hide in protester death?, as does Meryl: If it's Friday, this must be the anti-Israel narrative in Bilin

Update: The Abu Rahma Hoax.



4 Comments

"PA Spokesman Saeb Erekat called the woman's death "an abominable crime... an Israeli war crime."

Erekat has a record of reflecting reality accurately:

"Yet Palestinian spokesmen characterized Israel's counter-terrorist operations in Jenin, right from the start, as a "massacre." Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erakat charged during a CNN interview on April 10, 2002, that Israeli troops had killed "more than 500 people." On April 12, he repeated the charge on CNN: "a real massacre was committed in the Jenin refugee camp." He added that 300 Palestinians were being buried in mass graves. On April 15, Erakat continued his charges: "And I stand by the term 'massacres' were committed in the refugee camps." He also began to refer to Israeli actions as "war crimes."

http://www.jcpa.org/art/brief1-22.htm

When people are inclined to believe Palestinian leaders of any kind, or Palestinian activists, and take them at their word when they claim "apartheid", "Warsaw Ghetto" or "war crimes" they ought to remember in what way these terms are being deployed. People ought to rake responsibility then for the way they allow such important terms to be not only misused and abused but to lose their meaning and thus to dilute their historical import.

Noga,

When people are inclined to believe Palestinian leaders of any kind, or Palestinian activists, and take them at their word ....

as Melanie Phillips writes in this article
The challenge of public diplomacy vis-a-vis the delegitimisation of Israel

The west is experiencing a total inversion of truth evidence and reason. A society’s thinking class has overwhelmingly subscribed to an immoral, patently false and in many cases demonstrably absurd account of the Middle East, past and present, which it has uncritically absorbed and assumes to be true. ... What is remarkable is that instead of treating this as a pathological deformity of thinking, the western progressive intelligentsia has largely embraced it as rational and true. And to a large extent this is because that same western intelligentsia has itself supplanted rationality by ideology – or the dogma of a particular idea. ... The single greatest reason for the endless continuation of the Middle East impasse is that Britain, Europe and America have continuously rewarded the aggressor and either attacked the victim or left it twisting in the wind. ... The Arab and Muslim world long ago realised if it set the narrative in its own image, it would recruit millions of fanatics to its cause and also confuse and demoralise its victims. In this it has wildly succeeded.

It's quite a long article that makes points that should be more widely disseminated.

I just read the different reports on Elder of Zion. The cousin's facebook account is rather intriguing. She was in her home, half a km from the location of the tear gas, when she was hit by the fumes of the gaz carried by the wind. If the gas was so strong that it kept its concentration from dispersing in the wind, how come that more people were not affected? And why was she the only person affected by the gas 500 meters from its source?

These stories are too fantastic. They do not fit together at all and do not make rational sense.

IDF is now reporting that she died of leukemia in the hospital. Had nothing to with the protest. Will post when I see it in English.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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