IDF: Overdose Killed Bil'in Woman

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JERUSALEM, Israel - The Israel Defense Forces released its findings into the cause of death of Bil'in resident Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, in late December.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters she died after inhaling tear gas at the weekly protest against the security barrier near Bil'in, calling it "a new Israeli crime carried out by the occupation army against our helpless nation."

Initial investigation revealed that Rahmah, 36, was inside a house, not at the demonstration, and that she had a history of respiratory problems.

She had been hospitalized several weeks earlier and may have been suffering from cancer, The Jerusalem Post reported. 

Hospital records at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah where she was treated confirmed she died from an overdose of Atrophine, based on a misdiagnosis, and not from tear gas inhalation. Her death was attributed to improper medical treatment.

"As we said to begin with, tear gas doesn't kill," an IDF source in the Central Command said. "Our estimation was that she had a medical history and received inappropriate medical care that led to the tragic circumstances and that is the state of things," he said.

"It is a pity that there were sources who took advantage of the incident to accuse the IDF without first examining the circumstances," he said.

Bil'in Popular Committee activist Jonathan Pollack released a statement following her death claiming she had been poisoned by an active ingredient in the tear gas and doctors were unable to revive her.

"She did not die because of lack of medical treatment," Pollack's statement read, "but because Israeli forces used a lethal tear gas banned in several European countries."

During the investigation, PA officials refused to meet with IDF officers, calling Rahmah a shahid (martyr) and her death a "war crime."

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