PA nixes meeting with IDF over Abu Rahma findings

Army planned to present PA officials with evidence contradicting claim that woman's death was result of tear gas.

bilin protest 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
bilin protest 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Officials from the Palestinian Authority canceled a meeting planned for late Sunday night with officers from the IDF Central Command and the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria, during which they were to be briefed on the military’s findings in the Jawaher Abu Rahma case.
Abu Rahma, 35, died about 10 days ago following a demonstration near the Palestinian town of Bil’in against the construction of the West Bank security barrier. Palestinians claimed that she died after inhaling large amounts of tear gas, fired by the IDF to disperse the demonstration.
The IDF planned to present officials from PA security services with evidence it had obtained that, senior Israeli officers have said, contradicted the Palestinian claims and proved that Abu Rahma’s death was the result of the medical treatment she received at the hospital, completely unrelated to the tear gas.
Abu Rahma, IDF sources have said, did not actively participate in the demonstration, but was inside a house about 500 meters away.
Last Monday, the IDF said it assessed that Abu Rahma had died of medical complications that were not connected to tear gas and that the medicines she received after being evacuated to the hospital were used to treat people suffering from cancer, poison or a drug overdose.
The Palestinians have rejected the IDF claims, with top PA officials calling her a martyr and her death a war crime.
The IDF investigation into the incident is ongoing as other operational aspects of the military’s conduct during the demonstration are being reviewed. IDF officers stressed, however, that the military did not plan on changing the way it used tear gas to disperse violent demonstrations like the ones that regularly take place at Bil’in on Friday.
Despite the cancellation, IDF officers said they were in touch with the PA and hoped to set up a meeting with top officials there for later this week.
According to a report from the Red Crescent ambulance that brought Abu Rahma to the hospital, she was having difficulty breathing due to gas inhalation. Muhammad Eidh, the director of the Palestine Medical Complex where she was hospitalized in Ramallah, has consistently told The Jerusalem Post that Abu Rahma was treated solely for tear gas inhalation.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.