An American activist who participated in a Palestinian ‘solidarity’ demonstration is in serious condition Saturday after an Israeli soldier shot him in the face with a high-velocity tear gas canister. He underwent surgery early Saturday.
Even as the rescue operation commenced, more tear gas rained down on the demonstrators as soldiers allegedly delayed ambulance access.
“Tristan Anderson, 38, of Oakland, Calif., was wounded Friday in the West Bank village of Naalin, during a protest against Israel’s separation barrier,” reported the Associated Press. “In the past year, four Palestinians have been killed and scores injured by Israeli troops putting down weekly stone-throwing protests against the barrier, which cuts off Naalin from 300 acres of olive groves.”
“The Israeli soldiers were standing on the hill looking over us firing tear-gas canisters” Ulrike Anderson, who was with Tristan when he was hit, told the International Herald-Tribune. “Tristan was hit and fell to the ground. He had a large hole in the front of his head. I tried to stop the bleeding. He was bleeding heavily from the nose.”
“Tristan was shot by the new tear-gas canisters that can be shot up to 500 meters,” said Teah Lunqvist with the International Solidarity Movement, according to California’s IndyBay. “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.”
“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,” the site notes.
At the Berkeley Daily Planet, Tristan first became known as an environmentalist by sitting in trees to prevent their removal.
“He has worked extensively with Food Not Bombs,” Marcus Kryshka, one of Tristan’s long-time friends, told the paper. “He was also heavily involved with the tree-sit.”
“Kryshka said one of the reasons for his trip to Israel ‘was to engage in solidarity with the Palestinian protesters.'”
The Israeli army claimed protesters were throwing rocks at the troops.
“Anderson could very well die from his injuries,” reported ABC. “And even if he does recover, his friends doubt he’ll ever be the same, physically and mentally.”
This video is from PalSolidarity.org, broadcast Mar. 13, 2009. It contains graphic images.