Jawaher Abu Rahmah, a 34-year-old woman from Bil’in, died this morning in a Ramallah hospital as result of poisoning caused by tear gas inhalation. Jawaher fainted after inhaling a large quantity of gas during the weekly protest against the Wall in Bil’in and was rushed immediately to Ramallah for treatment, where she remained until passing away this morning.
Hundreds of soldiers were present in Bil’in this Friday, using a massive amount of gas on protestors. According to the popular committee in Bil’in, doctors who treated Jawahar discovered traces phosphorus and attributed her death to poisoning from chemicals in the tear gas.
Jawaher was the sister of Basem Abu Rahmah, who was killed by a tear gas canister in April 2010, also at a protest in Bil’in. Occupation forces have used so-called “crowd dispersal mechanisms” to inflict serious, and in several cases mortal, injury on protestors protesting against the Wall in the West Bank.
The Israeli military has long taken advantage of the occupation as a testing ground to develop new weapons, equipment and means of crowd control. While Palestinians struggling against the Wall in villages like Bil’in face increasingly repressive measures, Israeli military companies profit and develop new products, often for export abroad.
According to Jamal Juma’, the coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign, “We are human beings, not animals they can use to test their new weapons. Israel continues to use us as a laboratory because the world allows it to do so. Not even the shocking evidence on the war crimes and the usage of white phosphorous during the attack on Gaza exactly two years ago have moved the international community to hold Israel accountable. It is critical that governments around the globe stop encouraging this practice and stop arms trade with Israel.”