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Israel finds hospital to blame for tear-gas death

Jan. 20, 2011 11:41 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 21, 2011 11:10 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- "Given the misinformation that the army has circulated to the media in the past two weeks," the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee called Thursday in a statement for an "independent and professional" investigation into the findings of the military's most recent report.

Preliminary findings apparently leaked to Israeli media on Wednesday said the death of a Bil'in woman who was taken to hospital after inhaling tear gas on 31 December 2010 "was caused by poor medical treatment that she received at a hospital in Ramallah," the Israeli daily news paper Haaretz reported.

According to the report, the military panel looked at medical documents which showed doctors at the Ramallah hospital where the woman was taken believed Jawaher Abu Rahma was "sickened by phosphorous fertilizer and nerve gas" rather than the tear-gas used by Israeli military forces, which they said had a different composition.

In its coverage, Haaretz did not say how the treatment doctors gave Jawaher caused her death.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the official findings of the investigation had not yet been released, and were not expected until late Thursday or Friday morning.

The PSCC, which provides information on the weekly protests in the West Bank against the separation wall and night raids into communities which protest land confiscations, reacted angrily to the leaked findings, which they said proved several lies leaked by unnamed Israeli military sources to the Hebrew press.

The findings of the panel have "proven that senior army commanders who leaked information to the media through various unvetted Internet sources spread disinformation and lies about the circumstances of Jawaher Abu Rahmah's death in Bil'in," the group said.

Initial comments by military officials questioend whether Jawaher had even been at the protest, citing video documentation that did not show her near the scene.

The leaked findings of the panel "confirm that Jawaher Abu Rahmah was in the Bil'in demonstration on 31 December 2010, was exposed to tear gas and admitted to hospital for the effects of tear gas," the PSCC said.

"The army has proven that it is not a reliable source of information and only an independent and professional investigation will be able to provide the necessary information," the group said.
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