(photo credit: AP)
A Palestinian woman, reported to have been killed by inhaling tear gas fired by IDF troops during an anti-security barrier protest on Friday, was apparently not at the protest, IDF sources said on Monday.
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The IDF sources based their new assessment on medical documents that they obtained on Monday from the Palestinian Authority, which had initially refused to hand over the papers documenting 35-year-old Jawaher Abu Rahma’s death.
“The whole story is full of inconsistencies,” one senior officer said.
One example of an inconsistency was in the medical documents themselves. A lab report of blood work done for Abu Rahma showed that the blood was taken at 2:45 p.m. Friday afternoon. Another page from the report, which showed her time of admission to the hospital, put it at 3:20 p.m.
In addition, the medicine that she received, according to the reports, was medicine used to treat people suffering from blood cancer, poison or a drug overdose.
The IDF also questioned the way her death was reported. On Friday afternoon, the IDF received, like most weeks after the protest, a report that two demonstrators had been lightly wounded and were evacuated to a Ramallah hospital. By the evening, the PA updated the IDF that the two had been released to their homes.
The next morning, the IDF suddenly received a report that Abu Rahma had been killed.
The Palestinians rejected the IDF claims. Abu Rahma, according to activists and a Palestinian doctor, did in fact participate in the demonstration, during which she was overcome by IDF tear gas and taken to a Ramallah hospital. She died Saturday morning and was buried later that day.
Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak said he saw Abu Rahma at the demonstration and then later he saw her as she was taken into the ambulance. He added that someone had sent a Twitter message around the time that she as evacuated to the hospital, which stated: “One eye injury and Jawaher – sister of Bassem who was killed last year at a demo – was taken to the hospital for gas inhalation.”
Another discrepancy in the Palestinian version was that the medical documents claimed Abu Rahma did not have a medical history. The IDF, however, has learned that she was hospitalized in Ramallah 10 days before the protest.
Pollak said he believed she was treated in the hospital for an ear infection. He added that she had been sick with the flu the week before, but said that to the best of his knowledge, she did not suffer from cancer.
Mohammed Aideh, the medical director of the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah where Abu Rahma was treated, said that Abu Rahma had died from “respiratory failure after gas inhalation.”
He repeated that statement again when contacted on Tuesday night, adding that the respiratory failure had led to a cardiac arrest.
Abu Rahma, he said, was brought into the hospital in a semi-conscious state and she became unconscious. She was put on a mechanical respirator and her condition deteriorated, Aideh said.
The medical history taken from the family indicated that she was a healthy woman, and that nothing he observed upon her arrival contradicted that testimony.