Friday 13 March 2009


New tear gas called sarukh, can reach around 500 meters. When shot it is hard to see due to lack of velocity or smoke before it hits. IDF target demonstrators. Many have been injured and a leg broken. And now, effectively, the life of Tristan Anderson.

On March 13th, 2009, Palestinian sources report that Tristan Anderson, a 37 year old political activist from Oakland, California, was critically wounded in the village of Ni'lin after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a high-powered tear-gas canister near the tail end of a clash between protesters and Israeli troops over Israel's West Bank separation barrier. Anderson sustained a large hole in his forehead where he was struck by the canister during an anti-separation fence protest.

Tristan Anderson

Jonathan Pollack, who is sitting by Anderson's bedside at the hospital,said he has known Anderson "for many years," said Anderson was hit from "a pretty short distance" by a powerful new type of tear-can canister that can shoot up to a distance of 500 meters.

Tristan was taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Anderson was unconscious and bleeding heavily from nose and mouth. He sustained a serious injury to his forehead where he was struck by the canister. He is currently being operated on. His skull was fractured and some of the bone fragments entered his brain, Pollack said there was a large hole in the front of his head, and his brain was visible."

Ulrika Jenson, a Swedish activist who was at the rally, said that "They shot the tear gas canisters from a hill above us. Tristan was hit and fell to the ground. The IDF soldier stood on the hill and watched the protesters. Anderson was hit by one of the canisters and collapsed on the floor, with a big hole in the middle of his forehead. I tried to stop the blood until the ambulance got there, but it was nearly impossible. There was no reason to fire at them."

"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

Anderson underwent surgery to have part of his frontal lobe removed and it "went relatively well," according to Pollack, who was at the Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv to monitor the surgery.

"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"

Tristan Anderson is a dedicated activist and reporter who has long been committed to social and environmental justice in the U.S. and abroad in places such as Oaxaca, Iraq, and Palestine. Tristan has posted his reports to Indybay since 2001. Pollack said Anderson has been in Israel and the West Bank for about a month and participated in other protests before the one today.

The protest took place in the West Bank town of Naalin, where Palestinians and international backers frequently gather to demonstrate against the barrier.wall 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.

Anderson was shot when Israeli forces attacked the demonstration. Pollack said

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

Pollack said, "T
he 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. He wasn't threatening anyone and the group of protesters had dwindled from about 400 people to about two dozen people.The Dutch girl standing next to him was not hurt. It only injured him, like a bullet."

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.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson's office says the area where the protests take place is a closed military zone off-limits to demonstrations. The IDF also said that the "protesters violated an injunction issued by a major general and were endangering security forces." About 400 protesters turned out in Naalin on Friday, the military said. Some of them hurled rocks at troops, who used riot gear to quell the unrest, it added, without elaborating.

Another resident from Ni'lin was shot in the leg with live ammunition. Several other demonstrators against the wall have been killed or rendered brain dead as a result of IDF use of rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition in the villages of Ni'ilin and Bil'in.

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.

Other ISM activists killed or injured by Israeli forces: Rachel Corrie, killed by a bulldozer in 2003; Brian Avery, shot in the face in 2003; and Tom Hurndall, shot to death in 2004.

Rachel was an activist on behalf of children from a very young age.

In 2003, 23-year-old American Rachel Corrie, another ISM activist, 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. Films and photographs have shown Rachel was very visible to the driver of the bulldozer but, as usual, the military protected its own.

7141 Palestinians have been killed by Israel
since September 2000

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. This is land and water theft, pure and simple. The Israelis continue to steal and build their country on violence and blood.

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

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