Palestinians Suffocate by Israeli Tear Gas in Clashes South of Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, May 14, 2015 (WAFA) – Several Palestinians Thursday suffocated by tear gas fired at them by Israeli forces during confrontations that erupted in the town of al-Khader to the south of Bethlehem, according to a local activist.

Coordinator of the anti wall and settlement committee in the town, Ahmad Salah, informed WAFA that confrontations broke out between the residents and the army forces after the latter stormed an area to the south of the town, spurring clashes with residents.

Forces fired tear gas canisters toward the residents, causing many to suffocate due to tear gas inhalation.

He added that forces further took over the rooftop of a Palestinian home belonging to Mustafa Salah, and turned it into a surveillance point.

An increasing number of unarmed and peaceful Palestinians were either killed or seriously injured as a result of Israel’s constant use of tear gas against Palestinians.

Early December 2014, Palestinian minister without portfolio Zeyad Abu Ein died due to tear gas inhalation and after being directly hit in the chest by an Israeli soldier during a peaceful protest marking the United Nations International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. He was transferred to hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

On December 2011, Mustafa Tamimi, 28 from Ramallah’s village of Nabi Saleh, died from critical wounds he sustained when an Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister directly at his head from a short distance.

B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights information center, stated that “[Israeli] soldiers and Border Police often fire tear-gas grenades directly at demonstrators with the aim of hitting them, or fire carelessly, without ensuring that demonstrators are not in the direct line of fire, in direct contravention of regulations.”

The legal center, in a summary report published in 2013, demanded that Israeli security forces “completely prohibit the firing of 40mm tear-gas canisters either directly at individuals or horizontally, in a way that could cause result in injuries.”