In January 2011, women and civic groups from across Israel and Palestine flooded the streets to mourn Jawaher Abu Rahma, an activist who was participating in a weekly demonstration against Israel’s land confiscations and separation wall when she was hit with tear gas fumes, collapsed, and died on New Years’ Eve.
Jawaher is only the most recent protester killed or seriously injured by the tear gas purchased from Pennsylvania-based company Combined Systems Inc. and fired by the Israeli military. Jawaher’s brother was killed almost two years ago and two US citizens, Tristan Anderson and Emily Henochowicz, were injured last year.
Take action with us to stop the gas and the tears: Sign our petition to executives at CSI and their investors telling them to stop selling to the Israeli military.
Combined Systems Inc. (CSI) is located in Jamestown, Pennsylvania, but the tear gas canisters it makes litter the villages of Palestinians thousands of miles away. The Israeli military is using CSI’s tear gas as a weapon as it tries to crush the growing movement of unarmed protest against Israel’s illegal confiscation of Palestinian land for Israeli settlements.
Even more disturbing, you as a US taxpayer are paying for at least some of the tear gas that Israel is shooting at Palestinian, Israeli and international protesters. In 2007 and 2008, the US State Department provided $1.85 million worth of "tear gasses and riot control agents" to Israel as part of the US's $3 billion in annual military aid to Israel.
CSI teargas is also being used to repress peaceful pro-democracy protesters in the streets of Cairo and throughout the US. Students at UC campuses and activists at Occupy encampments have been brutalized by this harmful weapon as well.
Michael Monteleone, Point Lookout Capital
Leo Helmers and James C. Shevlet, Jr., The Carlyle Group
Dear Mr. Smith,
I am writing to demand that Combined Systems Inc. cease providing tear gas and related equipment to the Israeli military, because the Israeli military has a clear history of using CSI equipment to kill and maim unarmed, civilian protesters in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Just last Saturday, January 1, 2011, Jawaher Abu Rahmah died after she was overcome by tear gas at a protest against Israel’s confiscation of land in violation of international law in the West Bank village of Bil’in. Tear gas canisters embossed with the letters CTS, a CSI brand name, were found littering the village after the protest. Jawaher’s brother Bassem was killed in April 2009 when he was hit in the chest with an extended range CSI tear gas canister. US citizen Tristan Anderson and Bil’in resident Khamis Abu Rahmah were also gravely wounded when they were shot in head by the Israeli military with the same kind of CSI canisters. The Israeli military directly shot at least 15 other people in two villages alone with these canisters, causing injuries. Another US citizen, Emily Henochowicz, lost her eye when an Israeli soldier shot her directly in the face in 2010 with an aluminum tear gas canister, likely from CSI.
The Israeli military is using CSI tear gas as lethal weapons to crush legitimate unarmed protest by Palestinians and their Israeli and international supporters, against Israeli efforts to seize more and more Palestinian land in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in violation of international law. The Israeli military fires tear gas canisters directly at protesters in violation of CSI guidelines for their use. The Israeli military suffocates entire villages with clouds of tear gas when they protest. On top of those outrages, I’m very concerned that I may even be paying for this with my tax dollars as part of US military aid to Israel.
Reports by diverse human rights groups including the Israeli organization B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch and the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict demonstrate a pattern of use of excessive and lethal force against civilians by the Israeli military. These reports, and the cases cited above of specific misuse of CSI products, demonstrate clearly that CSI cannot rely on the Israeli military to use CSI products in an appropriate manner without undue risk of death and severe injury to civilians.
Stop profiting from death and injury. Stop selling CSI tear gas to the Israeli military before another protester like Jawaher or Bassem is killed or wounded.