Donnerstag, 27. Januar 2011

Murder in the West Bank: Corrections and amplifications

10 January 2011. A World to Win News Service. There are two mistakes in the article "West Bank: Israel meets non-violence with murder" in AWTWNS110103.



The Israeli soldier who deliberately shot Ashraf Abu Rahmeh in the foot as he stood, hooded, arms handcuffed behind his back and tied to a jeep, did not fire a tear gas projectile. It was a so-called "rubber bullet", a rubber-coated steel projectile, that left him with a limp since that day in 2008.



Tristian Anderson, the U.S. activist shot in the head with a tear gas cannister by an Israeli soldier in March 2009, is no longer in a coma. After three brain operations, the removal of part of his brain and months in a "minimally responsive state", "he has recovered some physical and mental functions." (Haaretz, 8 December 2010)



The Haaretz article points out that these "extended range" cannisters, with a range of 250 metres, are basically 40 mm artillery rounds. Anderson was shot from about 60 metres away. Ashraf's brother was killed when shot in the chest with such a projectile in April 2009.



We also reported on the death of Ashraf and Bassem's sister Jawaher Abu Rahmeh the day after she was gassed at the weekly protest that has been held since construction began on the wall cutting off Bilin villagers from their farmland. Ever since Israeli military officials gave an off-the-record briefing to selected pro-Israeli military journalists and bloggers, there have been a number of unsubstantiated claims in the media and floating on the Net suggesting that Jawaher's death was not due to the gassing but some "previous medical condition".



The Israeli military said that the fact that she underwent a complete medical exam shortly before she was killed, including a brain scan, might mean that she had cancer. But if, as they claim, their intelligence services have (illicitly) acquired her medical records, they know that her doctors saw no serious reason for concern after viewing the results. According to her family, she had sought medical attention because of a persistent ear ache. These facts seem to further indict Israel, not exonerate it.



This disinformation campaign has been accompanied by public lies by the Israeli government, such as the totally manufactured claim that the hospital released her shortly after she was gassed and that she died at home. In fact, doctors worked on her all night but could not save her.



What this pusillanimous media manipulation reveals is little about Jawaher and a great deal about the fact that Israeli contempt for justice is matched only by its disregard for truth.



If Jawaher did have some condition that contributed to her death, that would still not change the fact that she, like 12 others who have taken part in these protests over the last six years, died after being shot or tear gassed. Even if argued by a defence lawyer for Israel, this could at best only be construed as reckless disregard for human life. But in fact, the many deaths and serious injuries suffered by non-violent West Bank protesters would lead any fair-minded jury to conclude that Israel knew exactly what it was doing when it killed these people. In the case of the Abu Rahmeh family, the facts suggest that Israel has deliberately targeted at least some of them because of their prominent role in these demonstrations.



On 7 January 2011, as on every Friday, another protest took place in Bilin. Once again Israeli soldiers fired various potentially lethal weapons from behind the barbed-wire fence. Dozens of people suffered tear gas irritation. One of the organizers was hit by a gas cannister. Two people were left unconscious by the tear gas. One of them was the wife of Ahmed Abu Rahmeh, brother of Jawaher, Bassam and Ashraf. (International Middle East Media Center, imemc.org)



For more details about Israeli disinformation in this case, see "The Lede", the New York Times Web blog where its reporters post additional information that, whether due to editorial interference or self-censorship, doesn't make it into the daily newspaper (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com.2011/01/06/Israeli-bloggers-question-Israels-use-of-tear-gas-against-protesters ).

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