Saturday 21 March 2009


IDF: We Maimed Tristan Anderson to Save Lives

Mar 18th, 2009 by Richard Silverstein |

No, I don’t presume that IDF spokespeople read Kafka or Joseph Heller. But they might as well. The gobbledy-gook that passes for PR flackery from these people simply boggles the mind.

A few days ago, at the weekly anti-Separation Wall rally in Naalin, the IDF fired high velocity tear gas canisters at a lone American who was photographing the demonstration. Tristan Anderson, an unarmed International Solidarity Movement volunteer, not engaging in aggressive action or behavior, became yet another bloody statistic in the battle against the Israeli Occupation. He was hit in the head, ripping a hole in his skull, exposing parts of his brain, and likely rendering him brain-damaged. He may also lose an eye.

While four Naalin villagers have been killed by IDF and Border Police action at these rallies, this is the first time an American has been severely injured. Palestinian blood is cheap for Israel, but American blood is more expensive. You’ve got all that nasty PR in U.S. media outlets and the Obama administration is liable to take a dim view of Israeli soldiers deliberately targeting U.S. citizens with lethal force. Coincidentally, the last American killed by the IDF was Rachel Corrie, another ISM volunteer.

Israeli peace activists intend to keep the heat on the IDF:

The activists claimed that an illegal gas canister developed for dispersing crowds, and which was deemed forbidden for use by the military prosecution in 2001, was used during the protest during which Anderson was injured. They also maintained Anderson was shot at intentional.

This is the money quote which would’ve made Joseph Heller proud:

The IDF Spokesman Unit responded to the claims saying, “Use of the Ruger ammunition (0.22) [high velocity tear gas canisters] of this sort in Judea and Samaria is done in accordance with procedures for aggravated situations, within the exact same limitations as are placed on ‘regular’ live ammunition.

”It will be noted that these are not crowd dispersal tools, but ammunition for which obligatory regulations of live fire apply. The use of said ammunition, even in situations in which live ammunition can be used, is meant to limit the injuries of those being fired upon.

Use of this accurate ammunition limits wounds and decreases the risk for fatal injury. Operational experience until now shows that using such ammunition indeed decreases the severity of wounds.

In other words, the IDF treats use of the tear gas as just as seriously as using live ammunition. Which doesn’t really explain why a lone, unarmed American was targeted since he clearly didn’t constitute an “aggravated situation.” What really raises my hackles is the implication that by using tear gas they decrease the risk for fatal injuries.

Doesn’t this neglect the important fact that by using tear gas they put Tristan Anderson into a possibly irreversible coma that could lead to death or severe brain damage? Can someone explain to me how that jibes with a weapon that supposed “decreases the severity of wounds?”

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