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Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign

Biweekly Repression Update

Stop the Wall repression update: Dec 28 – Jan 11

These reports, previously released weekly, will now be released twice a month. Within each report, we will provide a brief analysis of the trends in repression occurring in the villages as well as providing statistics about injuries and arrests. We will also provide testimony from Palestinians affected during these demonstrations.

Part I: Testimony

Exerts from the testimony of the mother of Jawaher Abu Rahmah, speaking about the death of her daughter as a result of tear gas poisoning during the December 31 protest against the Wall in Bil’in. Read the complete story here.

"We went to watch that time, far from the demonstrators, fearing the canisters and gas. We got a little further from the area where there were direct confrontations, but Occupation soldiers fired large amount of gas, and after that came the truck which fires the waste water. The smell made those exposed to it head towards us, and whole foul smell was coming in our direction, when Jawaher told me, 'I'm not able to breath, and I feel like I'm going to throw up. My chest feels like its closing, and my head and eyes burn' so I asked her to go back to the house to rest, and I remained at the demonstration.

"Jawaher got to the house next to our neighbor Abu Khamis, the closest house in the village to the area of the weekly confrontations and stopped there. Then she threw up and fell unconscious. There was a group of children around her and Mo'ataz, the son of the neighbor, came to me and told me that Jawaher had gotten sick and passed out.

“[When] we arrived at the Shiekh Ziyad hospital in Ramallah and we moved Jawaher to the emergency room, since we arrived she had begun vomiting violently, and foam began coming out of her mouth. […]

"The doctors began to clean her up and put her on a ventilator, but she did not improve. Then they moved her to intensive care, and several doctors gathered around here and began performing examinations. They put a tube in her chest because her lung went out, according to what they told me. Then the doctors decided to move her to the recovery room. She was moved there and the doctors remained around her, and after an hour I went in to her in order to assure myself and called to her 'Jawaher, Jawaher'. She didn’t respond to me, so I called one of the relatives who was with us at the hospital to talk to her. He tried to talk to her but she didn't answer; she was only moaning, and opened her eyes once then shut them.

“The next morning everything began getting worse with her […] she was martyred at 9:30 that morning.”

Part II: Analysis

The killing of Jawaher Abu Rahmah in Bil’in highlights the devastating effect tear gas has on villages protesting the Wall. This kind of weapon is employed weekly and indiscriminately, and while the rare death does spur condemnation, the way gas is used by Occupation forces has become normalized, rarely drawing notice or condemnation.

However, it should. In this reporting period alone, the wife of Mahmoud Samir Shehada was knocked unconscious after tear gas filled the family home, and rushed to Ramallah hospital for treatment. There have been killings and other serious cases in the past. In 2004 in Biddu, elderly Abed Arahman Abed, 70 years old, died in the hospital from a heart-attack induced by exposure to tear gas. This was almost repeated in 2010. According to a human rights defender and activist in al Walaja, during the latest wave of protests from April to June, one elderly woman nearly died after her home was gassed.

Tear gas is also used to terrorize the whole population of a village, with jeep-mounted cannons effective at gassing entire residential areas. During the four-day siege of Ni’lin in 2008, soldiers intentionally tear gassed a number of homes, in addition to shooting holes in water tanks. Bahjat Mousa of the village Jayyus explained in 2009 how he suffered a heart attack as a result of tear gas attacks, and how his children were also hospitalized. Reports regularly come in from al Nabi Saleh about tear gas being used extensively in built up areas, affecting entire households. In fact, on the same day Jawaher was mortally injured, one home belonging to an elderly man in al Nabi Saleh was tear-gassed, seriously affecting the inhabitants and causing a small fire.

It must be emphasized that violence is serious in al Nabi Saleh. There were several cases of injuries during the reporting period, and on January 7 two young men, Iyas Sarhan (25) and Mahmoud Tamimi (18), both suffered broken feet after being struck my metal tear gas rounds and were hospitalized in Salfit. There was also one reported arrest and reports of ongoing closures of the village on Fridays. This trend is similar to what was witnessed in Ni’lin in 2008 and 2009, when a strong popular protest was met by closures, terror, and arrests, in addition to serious levels of violence resulting in 5 deaths and hundreds of injured.
 

Part III: Statistics

Serious injuries: 3

Arrests: 1

Arrests of HRDs and Minors

1. Adi Abdalhafith Tamimi

Place: al Nabi Saleh (Ramallah district)

Date of arrests: January 07

Circumstances: During the weekly demonstration in al Nabi Saleh, Adi was caught by soldiers, beaten and then dragged away.

Violence against HRDs and Minors

1. Eyas Mohammed Mahmoud Sarhan (25)

Place: al Nabi Saleh

Date of injury: 07 January

Circumstances: Demonstrating and hit in the foot with a tear gas round. Suffered bone breaks and was treated in Salfit.

2. Mohammed Mahmoud Tamimi (18)

Place: al Nabi Saleh

Date of injury: 07 January

Circumstances: Demonstrating and hit in the foot with a tear gas round. Suffered bone breaks and was treated in Salfit.

3. Name unknown - wife of Mahmoud Samir Shehada

Place: al Nabi Saleh

Date of injury: 07 January

Circumstances: Fainted after her home was tear gassed during the weekly demonstration and brought to Ramallah for treatment

4. Bil’in: Iyad Bornat (39), Awda Abu Rahma (21), Mahmoud Yusif Abu Rahma (16), Nabi Saleh: Islam Tamimi (child, age not known), Amr Saleh Iyub (22)

Place: Bil’in and al Nabi Saleh

Date of injury: 31 December and 07 January

Circumstances: The above were lightly injured when hit with tear gas canisters or rubber bullets.

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