Each week, Palestinians and international supporters gather in the West Bank town of Ni’lin to hold a prayer service and protest the building of the Israeli Wall. Yesterday, the International Solidarity Movement announced that Tristan Anderson, 37, from Oakland, CA was shot in the head by the Israeli Defense Forces with a high velocity tear gas canister and is, according to overnight reports, in critical condition at an Israeli hospital. Reports from the scene say that Anderson was standing far away from the wall, after the earlier protest, and not near anyone who might have been considered "threatening."
Jonathan Polack, a left-wing [Israeli] activist who is sitting by Anderson’s bedside at the hospital, said. . . that the protesters clashed with the soldiers, but noted that "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."
Pollack, in an interview with KPIX TV in California later said:
Anderson’s skull was fractured and some of the bone fragments entered his brain, Pollack said.
Anderson underwent surgery to have part of his frontal lobe removed and it "went relatively well," said Pollack, who was at the Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv to monitor the surgery.
Video from the scene shows the serious injury Anderson sustained – (viewers will find this disturbing):
The Ni’lin demonstrations are an attempt to stop construction of the Wall which is cutting residents off from their property. ISM notes:
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.
ISM updates can be found here.
Update via Ha’aretz
"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.
and from the Israeli group ATTW:
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 scene, after which he was carried from one side of the checkpoint 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 transferred into Israel.
Amnesty International US notes that:
This Monday, March 16 2009 marks the 6th anniversary of the death of another US citizen, Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an American made Caterpillar bulldozer while trying to negotiate with the driver not to destroy the home of a Palestinian pharmacist in the Gaza Strip. She was 23 years old.
Selise quotes Starhawk’s update via email here – please read.