Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

IDF says Palestinian committed suicide by jumping in front of a speeding bullet

Haaretz reports that the death of Bassem Abu Rahmeh will not be investigated by the Israeli Defense Forces. On April 17,2009, Rahmeh was killed while participating in a nonviolent demonstration in the village of Bil'in, a village that has become famous for its weekly friday demonstrations. Abu Rahmeh was shot in the chest by a high velocity tear gas round. Shortly after the incident, the Palestine Monitor reported on the type of canister that Rahmeh was killed with:
Bassem was shot by a new kind of Tear Gas, called “the rocket”. The soldier who shot it was a mere 40 meters away. This is the same type of tear gas that critically injured US citizen Tristan Anderson a few weeks ago. Those tear gas canisters are as fast and lethal as live ammunition. Very hard to get away from. Normally, tear gas canisters fly in the air for a long time, then fall and bounce a few times. Those ones fly like a bullet and go straight, not up and down.
Despite the footage from three cameras, opinions of ballistics experts, and the urging of the premier Israeli human rights organization (B'tselem), the IDF has chosen to open no investigation, stating that:
"We have approached military officials for their comments on the alleged incident. After examining the materials we received, we came to believe there was no basis found to the claim a tear gas grenade was aimed and fired directly at Abu Rahmeh," the statement read.

"The inquiry shows that there are two possible explanations for the injury: A. The injured man was standing on an elevated spot, and intersected the firing line of the grenade or B. The ammunition fired hit the upper wires of the fence, which changed its trajectory."
Really, he jumped in front of a speeding tear gas canister (dun dun dun duuuuuuuun....IT'S SUPER ABU RAHMEH)!? Seriously, that's insulting, probably much more to the family who lost a son, a brother, and a father.

Michael Sfard, the family's Israeli attorney says it well:
"Someone deciding not to investigate is someone who has something to hide. If the effort and creativity invested in preventing investigations were instead directed to unraveling the killing of unarmed civilians, maybe the military prosecution would not need to resort to using physical theories that sound like they were taken from a cartoon."
UPDATE: One of the videos from the incident is here. (It shows Abu Rahmeh after being shot, so viewer discretion is advised). An accidental death isn't really an option because if someone shoots a deadly weapon and it ricochets and kills someone, that person is still responsible. So we are left with the possibilities of suicide and murder, you decide, cause the IDF refuses to even consider the latter.

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