Saturday, March 14, 2009

Urgent protest against Israel's shootings of non-violent activists

On March 3 2009, Jewish Peace News posted a discussion of Israel's ongoing violent repression of non-violent protest in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, most pronouncedly in the villages being ravaged by the Wall

When Palestinian activists or children are shot and killed, it is often "not news" to the Hebrew or English press which barely reports it, if at all. On Friday, however, Israeli forces critically injured a U.S. citizen, Tristan Anderson, a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement.

As the Women's Coalition for Peace announced in its call to action below (following the report from the daily Haaretz), Israel's military recently loosed a collection of "particularly lethal anti-demonstration weapons against non-violent demonstrators". Anderson's severe injury was no mistake.

Our March 3rd posting on the topic (which you can access through the JPN blog address cited above)listed several Israeli agencies and officials whom you can contact with letters or calls of protest. Sometimes, these can and do make a difference. As Israel acquires an openly racist, right-wing, extremist government, your international voices of steady protest become all the more vital.

Rela Mazali


w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m


Last update - 22:51 13/03/2009

U.S. citizens critically hurt at West Bank protest
By The Associated Press and Haaretz Service

Palestinian sources said that an American citizen, in his thirties, had sustained critical wounds during an anti-separation fence protest in the West Bank on Friday, Army Radio reported.

Peace activists with the International Solidarity Movement said Tristan Anderson, of the Oakland, Calif. area, was struck in the head with a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops. The military and the Tel Aviv hospital where Anderson was taken had no details on how he was hurt.

Protesters who were at the scene said that Anderson was standing by the side of the road when soldiers fired at him, and not near the hub of the clash. They added that there was no one in his vicinity that could have been perceived as a threat to the soldiers.

"He's in critical condition, anesthetized and on a ventilator and undergoing imaging tests," said Orly Levi, a spokeswoman at the Tel Hashomer hospital. She described Anderson's condition as life-threatening.

The protest took place in the West Bank town of Na'alin, where Palestinians and international backers frequently gather to demonstrate against the barrier. Israel says the barrier is necessary to keep Palestinian attackers from infiltrating into Israel. But Palestinians view it as a thinly veiled land grab because it juts into the West Bank at multiple points.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson's office said the area where the protests take place is a closed military zone off-limits to demonstrations. It added that demonstrators hurled rocks at troops, who used riot gear to quell the unrest.

The IDF said further that the "protesters violated an injunction issued by a major general and were endangering security forces."

Ulrika Jenson, an International Solidarity Movement activist, said troops fired tear gas canisters into the crowd from a hill above.

"Tristan was hit and fell to the ground," Jenson was quoted as saying in an ISM statement. "He had a large hole in the front of his head, and his brain was visible."

A Palestinian protester was also wounded in the leg as a result of live IDF fire.

In 2003, another ISM activist, 23-year-old American Rachel Corrie, was crushed to death in Gaza by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to block it from demolishing a Palestinian home.

The driver said he didn't see her, and the Israeli military ruled her death an accident.

Meanwhile Friday, protesters gathered at another West Bank village to similarly protest Israel's separation fence. At this protest, held every Friday in Bil'in, some 100 demonstrators clashed with security personnel. Palestinian witnesses reported that five people had sustained injuries as security forces fired rubber-coated bullets at the crowd.

Related articles:
· Shin Bet: Separation fence fueling attacks by East Jerusalem Arabs
· Palestinian 'Santas' do battle with Israeli security forces over West Bank fence
· Israel wastes 250 million shekels on settlement roads to nowhere
· Palestinian boy, 11, killed during protest at West Bank fence


Protest the Shooting of Tristan Anderson
Demonstration in Front of the Ministry of Defense
Kaplan Street, Tel Aviv
7 PM, Sunday

Tristan Anderson, an American citizen, was shot with an extended range tear gas canister at a demonstration against the Wall in Nilin on Friday. He was hit in the forehead and remains in critical condition. Like him, several other demonstrators have been seriously injured by the new extended-range canisters. In addition, the army has returned to using the Ruger .22 rifle to shoot at demonstrators. The recent injuries are a direct and predictable result of that policy. The ordinary excuses about an unfortunate accident and an investigation in progress will satisfy only those who are willing to lie to themselves. It is time to protest the shooting of Tristan and demand that the army stop using these particularly lethal anti-demonstration weapons against non-violent demonstrators.

Demonstrate in front of the ministry of defense on Kplan street in Tel Aviv tomorrow (Sunday) at 7 PM

CWP works year-round to end the occupation, stop the siege on Gaza, expose the economy of the occupation, resist militarism, empower and mobilize women, reach out to youth and build strong and ongoing partnership between Palestinian and Jewish women.
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Racheli Gai
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Judith Norman
Lincoln Shlensky
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Alistair Welchman
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