- Title: WEST BANK: Hundreds attend Palestinian protester's funeral in Bilin
- Date: 2nd January 2011
- Summary: BILIN, WEST BANK (JANUARY 1, 2011) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WAITING OUTSIDE MOSQUE AHEAD OF FUNERAL OF JAWAHER ABU RAHME, FEMALE PALESTINIAN PROTESTER WHO DIED A DAY AFTER INHALING TEAR GAS DURING ANTI-BARRIER DEMO VARIOUS OF BODY OF ABU RAHME BEING CARRIED ON STRETCHER OUT OF MOSQUE AND TOWARDS CEMETERY VARIOUS OF PEOPLE STANDING IN CEMETERY DURING FUNERAL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RATEB ABU RAHME, FAMILY MEMBER OF DEAD PROTESTER JAWAHER ABU RAHME, SAYING: "What happened yesterday, there were too many forces from the occupation, guarding the apartheid wall, and they started shooting, so many, so many gas (canisters) mixed with smelly water. And this large amount of gas caused many protesters a fealing of suffocation, and it killed Jawaher Abu-Rahmeh. And immediately we moved her to the Palestinian medical centre." WOMEN WATCHING FUNERAL FROM TOP OF BUILDING (SOUNDBITE) (English) JONATHAN POLLAK, ANTI-BARRIER ACTIVIST WHO PARTICIPATED IN FRIDAY'S PROTEST, SAYING: "This death was caused by their brutality, by the fact that they are using tear gas that was banned in Europe in the 60s and 70s, because it is lethal. But here, on Palestinians, they continue using it." MOURNERS WAVING FLAGS DURING FUNERAL MOURNERS COVERING GRAVE WITH BLANKET CHILDREN WATCHING FUNERAL (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALLEN, TOURIST FROM THE UK WHO PARTICIPATED IN FRIDAY'S DEMONSTRATION, SAYING: "When I arrived, it's the first time that I've come to Bilin, and I was told to stay back because the Israeli army were going to fire tear gas, so I stayed as far back as I could. But even that far back I was overwhelmed several times by the tear gas, they were shooting so many tear gas canisters. I was chocked up and I had to keep moving back. So I can't imagine what it was like for the people in the front. And now that we understand that one girl has been murdered by the Israeli military, we know the effect of this gas, that this is fatal, this shouldn't be used against peaceful demonstrations. This is clearly a crime." MORE OF CROWD AT FUNERAL
- Embargoed: 17th January 2011 12:00
- Location: West bank, Palestinian Territory, Occupied
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA2SVI23O5M73YTMVWM2NNM5H6R
- Story Text: A Palestinian protester who died after inhaling tear gas during an anti-barrier protest is buried in a West Bank village as her family and activists blame Israel for using lethal weapons on peaceful demonstrators.
Hundreds of Palestinians and anti-barrier activists on Saturday (January 1) took part in the funeral procession of a Palestinian protester who died after inhaling tear gas.
The woman, identified as Jawaher Abu Rahme from the village of Bilin, died in a hospital where she was being treated after inhaling the gas fired by Israeli forces quelling a protest in the occupied West Bank on Friday (December 31), a Palestinian doctor said.
Abu Rahmeh, who was 35, was the second member of her family said to have died in one of the weekly protests held in the village of Bilin against an Israeli barrier built across the West Bank. Jawaher Abu Rahme's brother Bassem, in his 20s, was killed in 2009 after a tear gas canister struck him in the chest.
The precise reason for Abu Rahme's death was unclear, including what type of gas she may have inhaled.
Mourners at the funeral blamed the Israeli military for the protester's death.
"What happened yesterday, there were too many forces from the occupation, guarding the apartheid wall, and they started shooting, so many, so many gas (canisters) mixed with smelly water. And this large amount of gas caused many protesters a fealing of suffocation, and it killed Jawaher Abu Rahme. And immediately we moved her to the Palestinian medical centre," said family member Rateb Abu Rahme.
"This death was caused by their brutality, by the fact that they are using tear gas that was banned in Europe in the 60s and 70s, because it is lethal. But here, on Palestinians, they continue using it," said anti-barrier activist Jonathan Pollak.
Mohammad Eidi, head of emergency at Ramallah Hospital, told Reuters in a phone conversation that Abu Rahme had arrived there on Friday (December 31) with very weak breathing as a result of inhaling a gas. The doctor added that the type of gas is still not identified.
The Israeli military said on Friday troops had employed riot dispersal means against stone throwers. A military spokesman, reached by telephone on Saturday, had no immediate comment.
Israel Radio, quoting Palestinian sources, said Israeli troops had fired an unusual amount of tear gas at dozens of demonstrators during a weekly protest against the barrier Palestinians in Bilin say cuts them off from some of their land.
The Israeli report, quoting an unidentified military source, said Abu Rahme had been treated in hospital after suffering a light injury and sent home on Friday. Eidi, asked about the report, denied she had been released from hospital.
Israel started building the barrier of wire fences and cement walls in the West Bank in 2004. Israel says this is a security measure to prevent suicide bombers from reaching its cities after hundreds were killed as a result of such conflict.
Violence in the West Bank has largely tapered off in the past few years as a result of security measures by Israel and a bolstered Palestinian police force supervised by Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's government.
But conflict has been on the rise along Israel's border with Hamas-ruled Gaza, where militants have been firing rockets at Israeli towns and Israel has responded with deadly air strikes.
U.S.-brokered peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel collapsed late last year in a dispute over Jewish settlement building in land Palestinians seek for a state. Abbas urged Western leaders in a speech on Friday to come up with a new peace plan in hopes that diplomacy may be revived.
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