Police Clash With Leftists at Tel Aviv Rally Over Palestinian Protester's Death

Hundreds of activists protest in front of Defense Ministry after Palestinian woman dies as a result of tear gas shot by IDF; Police reportedly slap former Meretz MK.

Hundreds of left-wing activists gathered in front of the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on Saturday in protest of the death of a Palestinian demonstrator in Bil'in, after she was exposed to tear gas shot by Israeli soldiers on Friday.

According to protesters, police who arrived at the scene were acting violently toward the activists, and former Knesset member Musi Raz from Meretz was reportedly arrested and beaten by police.

Police forces arrested seven more activists during the demonstration. According to the police, the protesters were blocking major roads and were violent toward police officers.

The organizers of the demonstration, individuals from the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, claimed that police pushed the protesters and that one of the police officers even slapped former MK Raz.

Left-wing demonstration against death of Bil'in protester, Tel Aviv, January 1, 2011.
Tomer Appelbaum

"Like protests in Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli police treats citizens like enemies in the heart of Tel Aviv as well. It crushes freedom of speech and acts as the extreme-right's storm troopers," the organization wrote in a statement.

Earlier Saturday, a resident of the West Bank village of Bil'in died in a Ramallah hospital after she was exposed to tear gas that was shot by IDF soldiers to disperse the crowd of demonstrators against the separation wall in the village on Friday.

Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, was the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was killed by an extended-range tear gas canister fired at his chest by IDF soldiers at a demonstration against the separation wall in Bil'in in April 2009.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Jawaher's death, calling it a "new Israeli crime carried out by the occupation army against our helpless nation."