Saturday, March 14, 2009

American citizen critically injured by Israeli military shooting teargas into Nil'in village

Dear friends,
some of you may have already heard the terrible news about the Tristan Anderson, a 38 year old American citizen, who is in critical condition after being shot in the head with a long range tear gas cannister.

According to the latest update from Israeli anti-occupation activists in Tel Aviv, Tristan's condition remains the same.

I have included below the reports issued by the Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall and the International Solidarity Movement, whose members were also present in Nil'in when Tristan was shot.

Also included is a link to the video footage shot just after Tristan was hit (please note it may cause distress to some)

Since December last year, the Israeli military has been using a new type of tear gas cannister. The new tear gas is a black canister, labelled “40mm bullet, special/extended range” in Hebrew. According to AATW it has a range of over 400 meters and emits a very faint sound when fired and leaves hardly any smoke tail at all, thus making it extremely difficult to avoid. The older style cannisters emited a smoke tail and a whizzing sound when fired.

Despite it being illegal under Israeli military operations laws, the Israeli military often use teargas as a weapon rather than a "crowd control" agent. Under Israeli military operation regulations and law, tear gas cannisters should not be fired directly at the bodies of protestors as they can cause serious injury or death.

According to AATW, the Israeli military have also started to once again fire Ruger .22 bullets into peaceful demonstrations in the Occupied West Bank.

Israeli anti-occupation activists are currently organising demonstrations to take place in Tel Aviv and there have been calls for international demonstrations in support of Tristan and the people of Nil'in to also take place. Please consider if you can participate in or organise such a demonstration.

in solidarity, Kim


American Protester Critically Injured by Soldiers in Ni'ilin
Anarchists Against the Wall

Tristan Anderson, 38, an American citizen, was critically injured on Friday by Israeli troops during protests against Israel's Wall in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. He was hit in his forehead by a new type of high velocity, extended range teargas projectile, and has been transferred to Tel Hashomer hospital, near Tel Aviv. Tristan is unconscious, anesthetized and artificially respirated, has sustained life-threatening injuries to his brain (as well as to his right eye), and is expected to undergo several operations in the coming days, in addition to the one he underwent today.

Tristan Anderson

The impact of the projectile caused numerous condensed fractures to Anderson's forehead and right eye socket. During the operation, part of his right frontal lobe had to be removed, as it was penetrated by bone fragments. A brain fluid leakage was sealed using a tendon from his thigh, and both his right eye and skin suffered extensive damage. The long term scope of all of Tristan's injuries is yet unknown. It should also be noted that soldiers at the Ni'ilin checkpoint prevented the Red Crescent ambulance from taking Tristan directly to the hospital, forcing it to wait for approximately 15 minutes until an Israeli ICU ambulance (called by Israeli activists) arrived at the scene, after which he had to be carried from one ambulance to the other. This, of course, is standard procedure - in the extremely rare cases where the army allows patients from the occupied territories to be tranferred into Israel.

Tristan was hit while standing with a fellow protester inside the village, several hours after the army initially attacked a protest march of Ni'ilin's residents (joined by Israeli and international activists) who attempted to march onto their own lands in the vicinity of the wall. As opposed to previous demonstrations, this week protesters managed to actually reach the road on which the wall is currently being built, and even caused damage to parts of the razor-wire protecting the site, as well as to the newly erected fence segments of the barrier. Israeli troops dispersed demonstrators by using large amounts of teargas and rubber coated steel bullets, driving everyone back into the village. Soldiers then followed the crowd and proceeded to shoot concussion grenades, teargas canisters, rubber coated steel bullets and even live ammunition into the village, to which many of Ni'ilin's youth responded with slingshots, trying to drive the army away from the outskirts of the village.

Tristan Anderson, a few weeks before his injury, pictured during a jail solidarity demonstration in front of Jalameh prison

Anderson's injury is part of a recent escalation in the army's violent attempts to suppress Palestinian unarmed popular resistance to the occupation. Israeli troops have been using the new teargas canister since December 2008, coinciding with the beginning of Israel's ruthless assault on Gaza. The black canister, labelled “40mm bullet, special/extended range” in Hebrew, has a range of over 400 meters, emits a very faint sound when fired and leaves hardly any smoke tail at all – making it extremely difficult to avoid. Furthermore, and against the army's own regulations, soldiers routinely shoot it directly towards demonstrators, as opposed to in an arched trajectory. The combination of all these factors has led to numerous severe injuries from the projectiles, including a fractured skull and a broken leg suffered by Palestinians earlier this year.

"extended range" teargas projectile, similar to the one fired at Tristan's head. Photo: ISM Palestine

New teargas canister used by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian civilians

In addition, Israel has resumed its use of sniper-fire, shot from a suppressed Ruger 10/22 rifle, as a means of crowd dispersal. This was forbidden by the army itself already in late 2001, after the Judge Advocate General at the time reclassified the Ruger as "live ammunition" for all intents and purposes, following numerous deaths of demonstrators as well as tests carried out in military shooting ranges.

During the Friday clashes in Ni'ilin, two other Palestinians and one international were lightly injured after being hit by teargas canisters, while a third Palestinian was shot in his leg with live ammunition by a sniper, and was evacuated to a hospital in Ramallah.

American citizen critically injured after being shot in the head by Israeli forces in Ni’lin
March 13, 2009
International Solidarity Movement

Updates below Press Release

For Immediate Release

13th Friday 2009, Ni’lin Village: An American citizen has been critically injured in the village of Ni’lin after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a tear-gas canister.

Tristan Anderson from California USA, 37 years old, has been taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Anderson is unconscious and has been bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a large hole in his forehead where he was struck by the canister. He is currently being operated on.

Tristan was shot by the new tear-gas canisters that can be shot up to 500m. I ran over as I saw someone had been shot, while the Israeli forces continued to fire tear-gas at us. When an ambulance came, the Israeli soldiers refused to allow the ambulance through the checkpoint just outside the village. After 5 minutes of arguing with the soldiers, the ambulance passed.
– Teah Lunqvist (Sweden) - International Solidarity Movement

The Israeli army began using to use a high velocity tear gas canister in December 2008. The black canister, labeled in Hebrew as “40mm bullet special/long range,” can shoot over 400 meters. The gas canister does not make a noise when fired or emit a smoke tail. A combination of the canister’s high velocity and silence is extremely dangerous and has caused numerous injuries, including a Palestinian male whose leg was broken in January 2009.

Please Contact:
Adam Taylor (English), ISM Media Office +972 8503948
Sasha Solanas (English), ISM Media Office - +972 549032981
Woody Berch (English), at Tel Hashomer hospital +972 548053082

Video footage of Tristan Anderson after being hit by tear gas cannister - please note this footage may be distressing to some.

Tristan Anderson was shot as Israeli forces attacked a demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall through the village of Ni’lin’s land. Another resident from Ni’lin was shot in the leg with live ammunition.

Four Ni’lin residents have been killed during demonstrations against the confiscation of their land.

Ahmed Mousa (10) was shot in the forehead with live ammunition on 29th July 2008. The following day, Yousef Amira (17) was shot twice with rubber-coated steel bullets, leaving him brain dead. He died a week later on 4 August 2008. Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22), was the third Ni’lin resident to be killed by Israeli forces. He was shot in the back with live ammunition on 28 December 2008. That same day, Mohammed Khawaje (20), was shot in the head with live ammunition, leaving him brain dead. He died three days in a Ramallah hospital.

Residents in the village of Ni’lin have been demonstrating against the construction of the Apartheid Wall, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. Ni’lin will lose approximately 2500 dunums of agricultural land when the construction of the Wall is completed. Ni’lin was 57,000 dunums in 1948, reduced to 33,000 dunums in 1967, currently is 10,000 dunums and will be 7,500 dunums after the construction of the Wall.

Orly Levi, a spokeswoman at the Tel Hashomer hospital, tells Ha’aretz:

He’s in critical condition, anesthetized and on a ventilator and undergoing imaging tests,” She described Anderson’s condition as life-threatening.

Israeli activist Jonathan Pollack told Ynet:

… the firing incident took place inside the village and not next to the fence. There were clashes in the earlier hours, but he wasn’t part of them. He didn’t throw stones and wasn’t standing next to the stone throwers.

There was really no reason to fire at them. The Dutch girl standing next to him was not hurt. It only injured him, like a bullet.

13 March: Anarchists Against the Wall reports on Tristan’s condition (volunteers with AWALLS were present when Tristan was injured and have been at the hospital to oversee his treatment):

The impact of the projectile caused numerous condensed fractures to Anderson’s forehead and right eye socket. During the operation part of his right frontal lobe had to be removed, as it was penetrated by bone fragments. A brain fluid leakage was sealed using a tendon from his thigh, and both his right eye and skin suffered extensive damage. The long term scope of all of Tristan’s injuries is yet unknown.

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