Mark Lavie
The Associated Press
January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's military contends that a woman who died after a Palestinian protest was the victim of a medical error and was not killed by tear gas, Israeli media reported late Thursday. A Palestinian group disagreed.

The Israeli reports said that according to Palestinian medical records, the woman was mistakenly given a dose of medicine 10 times the accepted amount, causing her death.

The woman, Jawaher Abu Rahmeh, 36, took part in a weekly demonstration against Israel's West Bank separation barrier on Dec. 31, when soldiers fired tear gas to control the crowd. She died the next day.

Palestinians said the tear gas killed her. There were conflicting reports about her previous medical condition.

The woman's death has become a rallying cry against Israel's handling of Palestinian demonstrations and against Israeli occupation of the West Bank in general.

Israel TV said the Palestinians turned some of the hospital reports over to Israel, and the rest of the file arrived by "unofficial channels." As a result, the report said, the Palestinians called off a joint inquiry.

The military had no comment on the media reports.

A Palestinian activist group called the Popular Struggle Front dismissed the military's conclusion as "disinformation."

In another case, the military dismissed a soldier who opened fire at a 65-year-old Palestinian in the city of Hebron during an arrest raid on Jan. 7, according to a statement. The man was killed.

Soldiers were looking for a Hamas activist and entered the man's apartment by mistake.

The military issued a statement late Thursday expressing regret for the incident, adding that an investigation determined that the soldier acted improperly.

The statement said another soldier fired at the man "following a suspicious movement that caused the soldier to feel that his life was threatened," and his action was found to be in accordance with the rules.


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