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The Only Democracy? » Human Rights Activists in the Crosshairs » Israeli Military Offers “Cartoon” Theories to Explain Fatal Shooting of Bi’lin Protester, and Declines to Investigate

Israeli Military Offers “Cartoon” Theories to Explain Fatal Shooting of Bi’lin Protester, and Declines to Investigate

Bassem Abu Rahmeh at a Bi'lin Demonstration

Ha’aretz reports that  a year after Bassem Abu Rahmeh was fatally shot in the chest by a tear gas grenade as he stood unarmed at the weekly protest against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bi’lin,  the military prosecution has decided that it would not investigate his death.

Although ballistic experts had concluded that the grenade was fired directly at Abu Rahmeh based on footage of the shooting from three separate video cameras, the military found no basis to this claim, and offered two possible explanations:

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.

The family’s attorney, Michael Sfard, said that the decision shows that internal Israeli probes could not be trusted.

The military prosecution’s decision provides more regrettable proof that the Goldstone Committee had been right to say we cannot rely on Israeli law enforcement and an internationally monitored investigation is necessary…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.

VIDEO:  Bassem’s last words- “Rega! Rega!” (Hebrew for “wait”)

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Carol Sanders was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She is a retired legal services attorney and author of legal texts. She lived in Israel from 1963 to 1966, where she worked on a kibbutz, did graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and served as an assistant to the then-mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek. Carol is a long-time activist with Jewish Voice for Peace, and is the JVP representative to the Middle East Advisory Committee and a member of Bay Area Women in Black.

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