Made in USA Tear Gas Used In Egypt–What About Israel?

ABC News has reported on the use of US-made tear gas against protesters in Egypt. Great, it is important for Americans to know the use our aid to Egypt has been put to.

But it’s worth asking where ABC was when Israel has injured unarmed civilians with similar tear gas cannisters. Worse, in the case of Israel people have been killed because Israeli soldiers or border patrolmen have fired the cannisters directly at protesters, which is a violation of both IDF rules of engagement and of the proper procedures specified by manufacturers for thee use of these cannisters.

In April, 2009, Bassam Abu Rahmeh (whose sister, Jawaher recently died after inhaling tear gas at a protest) was killed under those circumstances. Another incident where American citizen Tristan Anderson was hit in the head and spent many months in a coma by a tear gas cannister was also scantily reported in the US and never investigated by any American agency.

Combined Tactical Systems, Inc. makes these tear gas cannisters. It’s an American corporation, but is obviously deeply involved with Israel. How can we know that? Well, this picture sure tells us something:

 

From Mondoweiss, American and Israeli flags flying outside CTS

 

I’m not knocking ABC; covering the use of the gas in Egypt is important. But isn’t it also time that we ask how our money is being used in Israel too? I support Israeli security and the US helping in this regard. But we shouldn’t be allowing our help to be perverted into use for violations of human rights. Ask the Abu Rahmehs and Tristan Anderson if that’s happening.

Coteret: Interview with Michael Sfard, lawyer for slain Palestinian, Jawaher Abu Rahme

Didi Remez of Coteret transcribed and translated the interview below from Israel’s IDF Radio. It is an interview of Michael Sfard, the prominent Israeli human rights lawyer who is representing the family of Jawaher Abu Rahme, who was killed on New Year’s Eve when the IDF flooded the town of Bil’in with tear gas during a protest against the Seperation Barrier there. It is worth noting that the barrier in Bil’in, which engenders weekly protests, was ordered moved by Israel’s High Court. The IDF has simply ignored the court’s order.

It’s also worth remembering that Jawaher’s brother, Bassam Abu Rahme, was also killed by Israeli forces in April, 2009 at another protest in Bil’in. Bassam was killed when a tear gas cannister was fired directly at him, in violation of legal use of such a weapon.

Jawaher Abu Rahme, another victim of the occupation

 

Interview with Michael Sfard

 

IDF Radio, January 4 2010 08:22 [recording here; interview begins at 00:33]

Niv Raskin: Now we turn to the IDF investigation on the death of protester Jawaher Abu Rahma. According to the IDF investigation, senior officers say it’s a kind of fabrication. The Bilin protester didn’t die of [tear] gas inhalation; she was a cancer patient. We want to talk about this issue with the family’s lawyer, Attorney Michael Sfard.

Attorney Michael Sfard: The IDF didn’t publish, its court journalists did.

Raskin: What do you mean?

Sfard: What I mean is that no IDF officer was willing to talk on-record. The IDF Spokesperson didn’t even put out a communiqué. Everything was done through journalists. They weren’t presented with even one document. I have never encountered such crazy fabricated blood libel.

Raskin: With your permission, let’s review the facts, at least as they were published. First, according to the reports, according to the investigation conducted by the IDF, there was no report of a wounded woman on Friday. According to those officers, at least, this casts doubt over whether she was at the protest at all. Continue reading