In a development that harkens back to the controversy surrounding the murder of cinematographer James Miller by the IDF, the family of U.S. peace activist Tristan Anderson, demanded Israeli accountability for the severe injuries he received during an anti-Separation Wall demonstration in Naalin:
The Andersons, of Grass Valley, Calif., held back tears Monday as they described their son’s critical condition. “We don’t know if he’ll recover, and if he does, we don’t know what abilities he will ever regain,” his mother, Nancy, told reporters.
His father, Mike, said “Israel must take full responsibility for the shooting of our son.”
By all accounts, Anderson was filming the demonstration and not engaged in remotely threatening behavior. A Border Policeman fired a high-velocity tear gas canister at his body from a distance of about 180 feet, hitting him in the head and exposing his brain:
Rights activists say Israeli troops often use excessive force in dispersing West Bank protests, and fire tear gas canisters directly at protesters – using them as a weapon, rather than a means to disperse crowds.
I should add that this procedure is a violation of IDF rules of engagement.
Israel has made unspecified claims that because the area in which the attack occurred was a dangerous “no-go” zone that the responsibility for his injuries is Anderson’s and not theirs:
” If a person decided to be a part of violent demonstration it is his own choice but there are the consequences ”
–Avital Leibowitz, IDF spokesperson
When read a certain way, this comment seems to imply that anyone who attends any demonstration outlawed by the Israeli Border Police will actually be targeted for attack regardless of their personal behavior during the demonstration. This is the ultimate in thuggish Israeli security forces behavior. Dare to disobey us and we will make you suffer the “consequences.” Apparently, they’ve done just that to Tristan Anderson.
Even after his injury, when medics came to treat him, the Border Police continued firing canister directly at them which you can view in this video. There were also significant delays in getting Anderson to hospital as the Israeli forces prevented a Palestinian ambulance from getting to him until other foreign activists remonstrated with the Israelis. You can even view the smug, obtuse face of the IDF officer who delays the vehicle’s departure here.
Doctors have had to remove portions of the lobe of his brain that was injured and he may lose one eye.
What reminds me of the Miller case is that after the British attorney general threatened to subpoena the IDF officer who killed Miller, the IDF began negotiations with the Miller family to financially compensate them for his death. I would urge both the Miller family and the U.S. government to treat this incident with the utmost seriousness and hold Israel’s feet to the fire. Unfortunately, the only lives Israel holds of value are those of Israelis, preferably Israeli Jews.
We have a new administration in Washington. Let us insist that they tell Israel that if IT won’t respect Anderson, that our government will and will insist that Israel does too.