14-month old child dies of tear gas inhalation in East Jerusalem + more

A 14-month old boy died of tear gas inhalation in the Isawiyya neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Friday. The toddler was apparently at home when the tear gas was fired [by Israeli Border Police], though Israeli media reports misleadingly suggest that the child died “during a riot”. YNet is also reporting here that “a possibility that the infant’s death was accidental – as a result of a gas leak at his home – is also being investigated”. An Israeli police spokesperson told the media that no report of an infant’s death has been received.

[And, a 20-year old fishermen was reported killed by Israeli fire on the Gaza coast on Friday.]

Earlier in the week, two men were killed in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan at 4 a.m. on Wednesday. A private Israeli security guard driving alone in the neighborhood said he felt threatened and feared for his life when he came upon the men, and fired.

Normally, people should be able to be out on the streets at 4 a.m. without fear of being shot and killed as a suspected threat. One victim had a criminal record — and a screwdriver and a knife in his pocket — YNet reported.

But, there has been no call yet for any investigation into this killing.
UPDATE on SUNDAY 26 SEPTEMBER: Lisa Goldman has just reported in +972 magazine that the Association for Civil Rights in Israel has formally requested a [police only?] investigation. Her article is posted here.

A spokesperson for the private security agency which employed the man who did the shooting told YNet that “The guards asked for permission to use crowd dispersal means, but were turned down, so the only weapon left is a pistol … The security guards’ job is to safeguard the [n.b. – Jewish] residents’ lives and property. They should not have to deal with disturbances.” This is posted here.

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Abbas' Mystery Meeting – to be with Hamas?

The hints have been coming for two days. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is going to have an important meeting “outside the homeland” today, Sunday 3 January.

Nabil Abu Rudeina dropped hints (slighly misleading) on Thursday, Yasser Abed Rabbo said it on Saturday… Now, the hints are leading in the direction of an Abbas-Hamas direct meeting.

It would be the first in a very long time, the first since the June 2007 “coup” in which Hamas routed Fatah/Palestinian Security Forces in Gaza. Abu Mazen’s position has hardly changed: Hamas must return to the status quo ante — that is, the Palestinian Authority must be restored in Gaza.

Abu Mazen was absent from Fatah’s 45th-anniversary musical gala at Ramallah’s Cultural Palace on Saturday evening, because he was travelling.

Now, Reuters is reporting, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (based in Damascus in recent years) is in Saudi Arabia for meetings in “in a possible bid to narrow the rift between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, an official source said … ‘He arrived today. The visit is aimed at helping Palestinian reconciliation’, a senior foreign ministry official said”.

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