Two Palestinians Dead in Weekend Violence

January 3, 2011 Updated: January 3, 2011

Two Palestinians were killed in several violent incidents in the West Bank and Gaza over the weekend.

A 36-year-old woman from Bil'in died after inhaling tear gas during the weekly demonstrations against the nearby security barrier, and a Palestinian man was killed by soldiers after failing to stop at a checkpoint.

According to the left-wing organization the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which takes part in the demonstrations regularly, Jawaher Abu Rahmah died in a hospital in Ramallah after inhaling the tear gas. Abu Rahmah is the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah who was also killed during a protest in Bil’in on April 17, 2010.

Abu Rahmah did not participate in the demonstration claimed the ISM, rather she was sitting in her home, less than half a mile away, and inhaled the gas that was carried by the wind. Tear gas is not known to be dangerous.

According to the Israel defense forces (IDF), during the weekly demonstrations, which are regarded by Israel as violent and illegal, there were reports of a woman suffering from gas. Abu Rahmah was then transferred to a hospital in Ramallah and released to her home, where she later died. According to the IDF the Palestinians later changed their version to claim Abu Rahmah died in the hospital.

The weekly demonstrations against the Israeli-built security barrier are a regular spectacle every Friday in Bil'in and in other villages in the West Bank. The demonstrations, which have been going on for about six years, are known for the cooperation between international and Israeli activists. They are characterized by creative measures to draw attention such as costumes and music. Stone throwing or attempts to damage property are also common in these demonstrations.

Azzam Alahmad, a member of the central committee of the ruling Palestinian Fatah Party, praised Abu Rahmah on Sunday, saying that her sacrifice is a symbol for all Palestinian women and that she paid in her death the price of freedom for her homeland and people, according to a report in the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.

In a different incident on Sunday, a Palestinian was killed by soldiers at a checkpoint near the settlement of Beka'ot in the West Bank. According to the IDF, the suspect approached the checkpoint in an unauthorized holding lane, carrying a broken glass bottle. The suspect did not stop, even after repeated requests from soldiers. The soldiers, in compliance with military orders, fired at and killed him.

In the Gaza Strip Israeli aircraft attacked in retaliation for rockets fired toward Israeli communities in southern Israel.

In addition, the Israeli Security Agency announced on Sunday that two Palestinians living under Israeli jurisdiction in East Jerusalem were indicted for planning a major terrorist attack. The two, Musa Hamada from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Bahr and his friend Bassem Omeri, an Israeli citizen from Beit Safafa, were planning to fire rockets at a soccer field in Jerusalem during a game.

The two were connected to the terrorist Hamas movement and started to plan several courses of action after the Cast Lead operation in 2008, among them attacking and kidnapping soldiers, claims the Israel Security Agency (ISA).