Activist provides evidence Bil’in protester died from gas

Israeli Jonathan Pollack presents hospital, Red Crescent documents countering IDF claims that Palestinian woman died of cancer.

Jawaher Abu Rahma Bil'in 311 (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Jawaher Abu Rahma Bil'in 311
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak presented the media with three documents Tuesday to counter IDF claims that a Palestinian protester had died from cancer and not from the tear gas she inhaled at Friday’s anti-barrier demonstration in Bil’in.
Pollak e-mailed to the media a copy of a report from the Red Crescent ambulance and the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, as well as a copy of CT scan from the Shafey Diagnostic Center in Ramallah.
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He did so after the IDF raised doubts about reports from Pollak, Palestinian medical experts, activists and people in the village of Bil’in that Jawaher Abu Rahma, 35, had died from tear-gas inhalation.
According to Pollak and members of Abu Rahma’s family, a Red Crescent ambulance took her from Bil’in to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah. She died in that hospital on Saturday morning and was buried later that day.
On Monday, IDF sources told The Jerusalem Post and other media outlets that Abu Rahma died from cancer and had not even been at the demonstration.
A Red Crescent ambulance report, provided by Pollak to the Post in English, dated December 31, showed that the ambulance arrived in Bil’in at 1:20 p.m., to be on hand in case there were injuries at the demonstration.
It left Bil’in 2:15 with Abu Rahma and arrived in Ramallah by 2:43. According to the report, Abu Rahma was having difficulty breathing due to gas inhalation.
Separately, Pollak and members of Abu Rahma’s family have told the media that they saw her at the demonstration. Among them were her mother, Subhiye, who stood with her when she was first overcome by tear gas.
On Monday, Pollak had shown the Post a Twitter post from 2:36 p.m. Friday, which stated that Jawaher had been taken to the hospital. A Palestinian website reported the incident on 4:48 p.m. on Friday.
On Tuesday, Pollak also provided the medical report from the Palestine Medical Center, which was dated January 2, 2011.
It stated that Abu Rahma was drowsy when she arrived and had a changed “level of consciousness.” According to the report, she had “frothy secretion” and was sweating, after a “history of unknown gas inhalation by attack of Israeli soldiers as family said. No other associated symptoms.”
It noted that she had no chronic illness or history of previous illnesses.
According to the report, she was admitted to the intensive care unit, and put on a mechanical ventilator. The report added that she had not responded to treatment and that her heart stopped three times.
The director of the Palestine Medical Complex, Muhammad Eidh told the Post that to the best of his knowledge, she had not been treated by his hospital for cancer and that the family had told him that she was healthy.
According to Pollak, Jawaher had in recent weeks complained of an inner ear infection, which affected her balance, for which she was recently given a CT scan.
The radiologist who performed the CT scan, Dr. Hamis Al Sahfi’i, confirmed that the brain scan was normal, Pollak said. He also provided a copy of the scan, which was done at the Shafey Diagnostic Center in Ramallah.
The IDF has not presented any documentation to back up its claims. It is continuing to investigate the incident.