Peace Signs in the Back of Police Van in Tel Aviv 1.1.10 Picture Credit: Oren Ziv/activestills.org

Peace Signs in the Back of Police Van in Tel Aviv 1.1.10 Picture Credit: Oren Ziv/activestills.org

Israeli activists protesting the killing of Bil’in’s Jawaher Abu Rahmah ‘returned’ spent tear gas canisters to the residence of the American ambassador to Israel late Saturday evening. Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital on Friday after inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas during the weekly protest in Bil’in, and died of poisoning Saturday morning. The tear gas used by the Israeli forces in Bil’in is manufactured by Combined Systems Inc.; a United States company based in Jamestown, Pennsylvania. This is the first protest where empty tear gas canisters have been returned to an ambassador’s home.

Approximately 25 five Israeli protesters gathered in front of the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Israel, James B. Cunningham, around 1am local time. The protesters ‘returned’ loads of spent tear gas canisters collected in the West Bank village of Bil’in. The demonstrators also made noise throughout the ambassador’s neighborhood, informing residents of how American military aid to Israel is being used to kill unarmed and nonviolent demonstrators in the West Bank. They chanted, “one, two, three, four stop the occupation stop the war. Five, six, seven, eight end the funding (US) end the hate.”This action is one of the first by Israeli activists demanding accountability of a foreign government. Instead of targeting the Israeli public, activists did a symbolic action aimed at the United States. This could signal the future of targeted BDS-style actions (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) actions by Israeli who witness the destruction of US military aid in the West Bank.

Five demonstrators were arrested in the action and are currently being held in detention. It is unclear when they will be released and on what charges. The action in front of the ambassador’s residence completed a day of protest throughout Israel and the West Bank stemming from Abu Rahmah’s death. On Saturday evening,hundreds demonstrated opposite the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. Protesters manged to block Kaplan street, a main artery, for over one hour. Eight people were arrested, including a former Knesset member from the left wing Meretz Party, Mossi Raz.

UPDATE: Nine activists were arrested in total last night. They are being brought before a judge right now on suspicion of possession of firearms (related to used means of crowd disperse found at the scene). The police has told the activists that they intend to extent their arrest. More updates to follow.

For more coverage of the death of Jahawer Abu Rahmah:

1,000 protest in Bil’in

Female protestor killed by Israeli forces in Bil’in

Images: Funeral of Jawaher Abu Rahmah

Ynet reporter slurs non-violent movement

In saying ‘I didn’t know,’ Israelis enable army’s killing of Palestinians

Hundreds rally in Tel Aviv to postpone Bil’in woman’s death