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Jan-02-2011 17:35printcomments

Israeli Demonstrators 'Return' Tear Gas Canisters to US Ambassador's Home

This is the first protest where empty tear gas canisters have been returned to an ambassador’s home.

Some of the Arrested in a Tel Aviv Courthouse
Some of the Arrested in a Tel Aviv Courthouse. Picture Credit: Oren Ziv/activestills.org

(TEL AVIV) - Israeli activists protesting the killing of Bil’in’s Jawaher Abu Rahmah ‘returned’ spent tear gas canisters to the residence of the American ambassador to Israel late Saturday evening.

Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital on Friday after inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas during the weekly protest in Bil’in, and died of poisoning Saturday morning.

The tear gas used by the Israeli forces in Bil’in is manufactured by Combined Systems Inc.; a United States company based in Jamestown, Pennsylvania.

This is the first protest where empty tear gas canisters have been returned to an ambassador’s home.

Approximately 25 five Israeli protesters gathered in front of the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Israel, James B. Cunningham, around 1:00 a.m. local time. The protesters ‘returned’ loads of spent tear gas canisters collected in the West Bank village of Bil’in.

The demonstrators also made noise throughout the ambassador’s neighborhood, informing residents of how American military aid to Israel is being used to kill unarmed and nonviolent demonstrators in the West Bank.

Arrested Activists in a Tel Aviv Courtroom on 2 Dec.
Picture Credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org

They chanted, “one, two, three, four stop the occupation stop the war. Five, six, seven, eight end the funding (US) end the hate.”

They chanted, “one, two, three, four stop the occupation stop the war. Five, six, seven, eight end the funding (US) end the hate.”

This action is one of the first by Israeli activists demanding accountability of a foreign government. Instead of targeting the Israeli public, activists did a symbolic act aimed at the United States.

This could signal the future of targeted BDS-style actions (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) actions by Israelis who witness the destruction of US military aid in the West Bank.

Five demonstrators were arrested in the action and are currently being held in detention. It is unclear when they will be released and on what charges. The action in front of the ambassador’s residence completed a day of protest throughout Israel and the West Bank stemming from Abu Rahmah’s death. On Saturday evening, hundreds demonstrated opposite the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. Protesters manged to block Kaplan street, a main artery, for over one hour. Eight people were arrested, including a former Knesset member from the left wing Meretz Party, Mossi Raz.

UPDATE 10:47: The arrest of the demonstrators has been extended for 48 hours (until Tuesday). They have been charged with illegal demonstration, resisting arrest (because they locked up arms in order to be arrested together) and tossing spent tear gas canisters over the fence of the US ambassador’s house. The court will convene again on Tuesday in order to see if any more charges will be filed.

Arrested Activists in a Tel Aviv Courtroom on
2 Dec Picture Credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org

UPDATE 11:40: The police now claim that some of the tear gas canisters were still ‘live’ and thus, the activists are being charged with attacking the US Ambassador’s home. Among the demonstrators arrested are those who were simply in the area and not involved in any protest. There is an appeal being filed right now.

For more coverage of the death of Jahawer Abu Rahmah:

1,000 protest in Bil’in

Female protestor killed by Israeli forces in Bil’in

Images: Funeral of Jawaher Abu Rahmah

Ynet reporter slurs non-violent movement

In saying ‘I didn’t know,’ Israelis enable army’s killing of Palestinians

Hundreds rally in Tel Aviv to postpone Bil’in woman’s death

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Source: +972 Independent commentary from Israel & the Palestinina territories Demonstrators ‘return’ tear gas canisters to US ambassador’s home

Joseph Dana is a Media Coordinator for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC). The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee was formed by prominent activists in the popular committees from all over the Occupied Territories and across the Palestinian political spectrum.The Coordination Committee was formed to facilitate fruitful communication between the different popular committees: from the villages of Bil'in, Ni'ilin and alMaasara - known for their struggle against the wall - through the many villages of the Jordan Valley and South Mount Hebron - facing attempts of creeping ethnic cleansing to Tulkarem, Nablus, Qalqilya and West Ramallah – who all suffer and resist the various aspects of the Occupation.

In addition to his duties at the PSCC, Joseph is a writer and filmmaker. His coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict focuses on the Palestinian unarmed resistance movements throughout the West Bank and the impact of Israel’s occupation on Palestinian life. With two Master’s degrees in Jewish History, one from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one from the Central European University in Budapest, he often draws on his knowledge of Jewish history to analyze Israel’s relationship to the Palestinians. Dana’s writing has been featured in the Nation, Electronic Intifada, Le Monde, New York Times, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Alternet, and Haaretz.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Joseph Dana and not representative of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee. Contact joseph.dana@gmail.com




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