Thomas Wictor

The IDF did not shoot Bassem Abu Rahmeh

The IDF did not shoot Bassem Abu Rahmeh

On April 17, 2009, a thirty-year-old Palestinian named Bassem Abu Rahmeh was hit in the chest by an Israeli tear-gas canister in the village of Bil’in. He later died of his injuries. The IDF was accused of firing an extended-range tear-gas grenade directly at Rahmeh, in complete violation of Israeli rules of engagement. This is a lie. Ironically, the proof that the IDF is innocent of this charge is provided by one of its most vocal critics, the Israeli “human rights” organization B’Tselem.

My advice to Israelis is to ignore everything B’Tselem says. Bassem Abu Rahmeh was killed five years ago. It took me just ten minutes to determine how he actually died. That means all of B’Tselem’s “experts” are either corrupt or worthless.

First, watch the video that B’Tselem claims proves that the IDF shot Bassem Abu Rahmeh in the chest. The cameraman is David Reeb.

The Palestinians were protesting the security barrier that Israel erected to prevent terrorists from carrying out attacks. B’Tselem calls it the “Separation Barrier,” so that shows you that they’re not arguing in good faith.

Due to a history of of suicide bombings, Israeli soldiers don’t let Palestinians approach the Israeli side of the fence. As you can see in the video, the protestors are first ordered to disperse. Bassem Abu Rahmeh shouts at the soldiers to not harm a small herd of goats that the Palestinians brought to the protest. At 1:29, after several warnings, the Israelis use a loud police air horn to warn the protestors that crowd-control measures will be used on them. At 1:41, the Israeli soldiers begin firing tear gas. At 2:42, a stun grenade explodes, followed by another.

At 2:51, a white cloud forms on the Israeli side, possibly indicating that the Palestinians have fired their own tear-gas grenade.


Yes, the Palestinians have homemade launchers.


At 3:17 an Israeli stun grenade—also called a flash-bang—explodes in the air. It was either thrown or fired. Another flash-bang explodes at 3:21. At 3:43, a soldier standing in front of a jeep fires four rounds from a Penn Arms Launcher.


At 3:51, a 400 “Skittering” tear-gas grenade lands in front of the Palestinian fence.


Another one lands at 4:04. At 4:23 we see an Israeli with a “Skittering” tear-gas grenade launcher.


At 4:34 Bassem Abu Rahmeh screams after he’s hit. It’s crucial to note where he’s standing.


He’s on a rise, behind a steel fence made of rectangular beams. Note the second fence, which is much lower than his position. When Rahmeh is hit, cameraman David Reeb is standing in front of him, on his right. Reeb then turns to his right to film Rahmeh on the ground.

Here’s the steel beam fence as Reeb pans to the right.


And here’s Rahmeh after the impact. The tear-gas canister is marked with a green arrow.


Here’s where B’Tselem begins conflating in multiple ways. First they say that Israel has adopted an extended-range 40mm tear-gas grenade.


B’Tselem links to photos of what it says are the Israeli extended-range grenades, manufactured by Combined Systems, Inc.


However, those are indoor barricade penetrators. You shoot them through windows, walls, and doors. The Israeli grenades have Hebrew writing on them that says, “40mm cartridge, special/extended range.” They say nothing about barricades. I’ve found no evidence that the Israeli extended-range grenades and the Combined Systems indoor barricade penetrators are the same munition. And B’Tselem’s own video indicates that they’re not.

The indoor barricade penetrator has vents in the nose to release the tear gas on impact.


You can see for yourself that the round that hit Bassem Abu Rahmeh has no vents in the nose.


Unless I get more proof, I can’t agree that the Combined System, Inc. indoor barricade penetrator and the Israeli extended-range tear-gas grenade are the same munition.

How did Bassem Abu Rahmeh die?

A tear-gas grenade bounced off a rock and hit him in the chest. The Israeli soldier fired the round many yards/meters to the right of Rahmeh, but through terrible luck, the grenade ricocheted and caused the fatal wound.

Remember that cameraman David Reed had to turn all the way around to his right to film Rahmeh after he was hit. That means Rahmeh was standing to the left of Reeb. We have a photo taken within seconds of Rahmeh being injured.


This frame in Reeb’s video shows the approximate time of the picture above.


Bassem Abu Rahmeh was standing to the left of Reeb when he was hit, and here is Reeb’s video of the projectile in flight. It came in many yards/meters to the right of the men.


A closer view.


On the left is the scene without the projectile, and on the right is the projectile captured in midflight.


This is the trajectory.


Remember, Bassem Abu Rahmeh was on the left of cameraman David Reeb. The Israeli soldier fired his grenade to hit at what should’ve been a safe distance from the men. Since Reeb is using the closeup function on his camera, this frame alone proves that the IDF did not deliberately shoot Rahmeh. In two dimensions, here’s where he was when the tear-gas grenade hit.


He was completely out of the line of fire.

But there’s more.

Not only did the tear-gas grenade come in far to the right of the men, it was aimed to hit lower than their feet. The trajectory shows that the grenade flew at least a yard/meter below the tops of the Palestinian fence closest to the camera. Look at Rahmeh’s position.


See how much higher he is than the fence tops?

This is the trajectory of the grenade when viewed from the side.


Since the trajectory was far to the right of the men, I think the grenade hit one of the rocks marked with the green arrow. If you listen to the video again, you can hear two impacts at 4:34 before Rahmeh screams. A ricochet killed him.


What were the odds that a tear-gas grenade would hit the rock in the “right” place and time to kill a man?

What were the odds that in a wide-open field, a bullet would ricochet twice and end up where it did?

There’s absolutely no question: The IDF didn’t deliberately shoot Bassem Abu Rahmeh in the chest. We can thank B’Tselem for providing us with the irrefutable evidence. He was another human being more useful to them dead than alive.

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