The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) called on police on Sunday to
investigate an incident in which an infant living in the east Jerusalem
neighborhood of Issawiya died after police used tear gas for two successive days
to quell rioting.
According to the human rights organization, the
one-year- old suffered from asthma.
In the letter, which was written by
ACRI attorney Nasreen Alian, the organization not only called for an immediate
investigation, but also demanded to know what the police regulations were
regarding the use of tear gas in residential areas.
testimony that has reached us, we suspect that the infant’s death might have
been caused by exaggerated use of tear gas in a dense, urban residential area,”
According to the testimony gathered by ACRI, the riots in
Issawiya, north of the Hebrew University campus at Mount Scopus, began on
September 22, after a Palestinian was shot and killed in an altercation with an
Israeli security guard in Silwan earlier that morning.
“It appears that
as a result of the penetration of the tear gas into the house [of Muhammad Abu
Shara], the condition of the one-yearold infant deteriorated,” wrote the ACRI
lawyer. The baby’s father gave him inhalation and took him to a nearby health
clinic, where the examining doctor said the infant was in reasonable condition
and sent them home.
The next day, the riots resumed and police clashed
with residents for nine hours.
“The police fired a very large number of
gas canisters, according to witnesses, so that a thick cloud of gas hovered near
the family’s home,” wrote Alian. The witnesses said the cloud was so thick that
one could only see a few meters ahead.
The baby’s condition again began
to deteriorate, but the father could not leave the house because of the tear
At the same time, ambulances were not allowed to enter the village
because of the ongoing clashes, the lawyer wrote. The father continued to give
inhalation to the baby, who fell asleep at 2 a.m. At 5 a.m., when the infant’s
mother came to look in on him, she found him dead.
The police have not
yet said whether they will open an investigation into the incident, but attorney
Ronen Leibovich, the police’s chief prosecutor, told ACRI he had not heard of