Israel charges peace activist with “arms possession” for picking up spent Israeli tear gas canisters

December 24, 2009 9:49 PM Saed Bannoura News Report, Prisoners, Ramallah 0
24 Dec
9:49 PM

After holding anti-Wall protest organizer Abdullah Adu Rahma in prison for over a week without charges, Israeli authorities have decided to charge him with “arms possession” for picking up spent tear gas canisters after protests, leading Abu Rahma’s lawyer to ask, “What’s next? Charging demonstrators for the costs of the bullets used to shoot them?”

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High-velocity tear gas canister (photo from bilin-ffj.com)



After holding anti-Wall protest organizer Abdullah Adu Rahma in prison for over a week without charges, Israeli authorities have decided to charge him with “arms possession” for picking up spent tear gas canisters after protests, leading Abu Rahma’s lawyer to ask, “What’s next? Charging demonstrators for the costs of the bullets used to shoot them?”

Israel fires dozens of high-velocity tear gas canisters at the weekly non-violent demonstrations organized, in part, by Abdullah Abu Rahma. These canisters often hit Palestinians and their international and Israeli supporters, and some demonstrators have documented cases of Israeli soldiers directly firing the canisters at people. Abdullah Abu Rahma’s nephew, the 30-year old Bassem Abu Rahma, was killed earlier this year when he was hit by a tear gas canister directly in the chest at close range.

On receiving the indictment Adv. Gaby Lasky, Abu Rahmah’s lawyer said that “the army shoots at unarmed demonstrators, and when they try to show the world the violence used against them by collecting presenting the remnants – they are persecuted and prosecuted.”

The tear gas canisters are extremely potent when fired by Israeli forces, but once they are spent, they are completely useless as weapons, which makes the Israeli claim that Abu Rahma was “possessing arms” extremely ridiculous.

Abu Rahma has been a lead organizer of the over three hundred weekly non-violent protests that have been held in the village of Bil’in every Friday since 2003. His abduction last week was just the latest in a series of abductions of non-violent organizers by Israeli authorities. Mohammed Othman of the Grassroots Campaign Against the Wall and Jamal Juma of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee are among the most recent abductees.

While Israel has made no comment as to whether it is specifically targeting non-violent activists, the non-violent campaign committees have said that the pattern is clear, and that attacks on organizing committees for non-violent demonstrations have stepped up since August, with frequent night-time raids on the village of Bil’in, which has been the center of non-violent resistance in Palestine since 2003.

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Saed Bannoura

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