US Nonviolent Activist Shot in Head by Israeli Troops

March 14th, 2009 - by admin

San Francisco Chronicle & Associated Press & International Solidarity Movement – 2009-03-14 22:58:16

Ex-Cal tree-sitter Hurt in West Bank Protest
Henry K. Lee / San Francisco Chronicle

OAKLAND (March 14, 2009) — An Oakland man who was among the tree-sitters who fought to save a grove of oaks and redwoods next to UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium was critically wounded Friday in the West Bank by an Israeli-fired tear-gas canister, officials and acquaintances said.

Tristan Anderson, 38, was injured during a protest over the separation barrier that Israel erected between it and the West Bank. An Israeli soldier fired the canister during a clash with protesters and hit Anderson in the head, said Ulrika Jenson of Sweden, an activist with the International Solidarity Movement.

Jenson, who saw the incident, said in a statement released by the group that “the Israeli soldiers were standing on the hill looking over us, firing tear-gas canisters straight into the crowd. Tristan was hit and fell to the ground,” Jenson said. “He had a large hole in the front of his head. I tried to stop the bleeding, but he was bleeding heavily from the head, nose and mouth.”

Anderson underwent brain surgery at Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv and was in the intensive care unit, Woody Berch, who works in civil-rights law in Israel, said after visiting the hospital.

Orly Levi, a hospital spokeswoman, told the Associated Press that Anderson’s condition was “life-threatening.” Paul Larudee, co-founder of the Berkeley chapter of the International Solidarity Movement, said, “He’s really touch-and-go. He’s hanging from a thread.” Anderson’s girlfriend, Gabrielle Silverman, 25, was keeping a vigil at the hospital, group members said.

Anderson and Silverman were among those arrested during the 21-month-long tree-sitting protest at UC Berkeley over the university’s plan to cut down a grove to build an athletic training center. The standoff ended in September and the university cut down the trees.

The couple went to Israel because they are “concerned about human-rights violations,” Larudee said. “They are involved in defending human rights in many different places. They just felt compelled to do that in Palestine.”

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

Israel says the barrier is necessary to keep Palestinian attackers from infiltrating into Israel and the area is a closed military zone off-limits to demonstrations. But Palestinians view it as a land grab because it juts into the West Bank at multiple points.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. E-mail Henry K. Lee at

© 2009 Hearst Communications Inc.

American wounded by Israeli troops has surgery
Karin Laub / Associated Press

RAMALLAH, West Bank (March 14, 2009) — An American activist struck in the head by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops in the West Bank was in serious condition Saturday after undergoing surgery, hospital officials said.

Tristan Anderson, 38, of Oakland, Calif., was wounded Friday in the West Bank village of Naalin, during a protest against Israel’s separation barrier. 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.

On Friday, several hundred protesters marched from the village toward the barrier. The Israeli military said there was heavy stone-throwing and troops fired tear gas. Demonstrators said the stone-throwing was sporadic. Anderson did not throw any stones, said Jonathan Pollack, an Israeli activist who was in Naalin.

Most of the demonstrators, including Anderson, had returned to the village when the American was hit in the forehead and fell to the ground, said a friend, Gabrielle Silverman, who was several feet away from him. The fist-sized canister fractured his skull, she said.

“Nothing was happening in the immediate area where we were, or anywhere else,” Silverman said Saturday. Troops kept firing tear gas as Anderson was being moved into a Palestinian ambulance, Silverman said.

Pollack said the ambulance carrying Anderson had to wait 15 minutes at an Israeli checkpoint, until an Israeli ambulance arrived to take him to Tel Hashomer Hospital near Tel Aviv because Palestinian vehicles are not permitted to enter Israel.

Anderson underwent surgery and was in serious condition, said Orly Levi, a Tel Hashomer spokeswoman. Silverman said skull fragments and a portion of his right frontal lobe were removed. He also suffered major trauma to the bone surrounding his right eye, she said.

Anderson and Silverman arrived in the region in February and had planned to spend three months in Israel, the Palestinian territories and neighboring countries, Silverman said.

His injury revived complaints by human rights activists that Israeli troops often use excessive force in dispersing West Bank protests. The Israeli military says stone-throwing poses a threat to troops, and several officers have been injured by rocks.

Troops used the permitted means of riot dispersal in Friday’s incident, the military said. This includes tear gas, rubber-coated steel pellets and stun grenades.

Ahed Khawaja, a Palestinian coordinator of the Naalin protests, said about 450 people have been injured, 12 of them seriously, since the demonstrations began in April. The barrier near Naalin is about 80 percent complete, he said.

Israel says the barrier is a defense against Palestinian attackers infiltrating into Israel. But Palestinians view it as a thinly veiled land grab because it juts into the West Bank at multiple points.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

American Citizen Critically Injured
After Being Shot in the Head by
Israeli Forces in Ni’lin

International Solidarity Movement

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

Watch Video of attack that injured US Activist

NI’LIN VILLAGE (March 13, 2009) — An American citizen has been critically injured in the village of Ni’lin after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a tear-gas canister.

Tristan Anderson from California USA, 37 years old, has been taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Anderson is unconscious and has been bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a large hole in his forehead where he was struck by the canister. He is currently being operated on.

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.

Tristan Anderson was shot as Israeli forces attacked a demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall through the village of Ni’lin’s land. Another resident from Ni’lin was shot in the leg with live ammunition.

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.

Orly Levi, a spokeswoman at the Tel Hashomer hospital, tells Ha’aretz:

He’s in critical condition, anesthetized and on a ventilator and undergoing imaging tests,” She described Anderson’s condition as life-threatening.

Israeli activist Jonathan Pollack told Ynet:

… 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.

13 March: Anarchists Against the Wall reports on Tristan’s condition (volunteers with AWALLS were present when Tristan was injured and have been at the hospital to oversee his treatment):

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.

Media Links:

* Israelis ‘firing live rounds’ at West Bank protesters – Guardian
* US Activist in Critical Condition; Shot By IDF – Fire Dog Lake
* Former UC Berkeley Tree-Sitter Injured in West Bank – Daily Californian
* Former Tree-Sitter Critically Hurt During Protests on West Bank – Berkeley Daily Planet
* US citizen in critical condition; four others wounded by Israeli fire in Ni’lin – Ma’an
* Israeli soldier shot American activist in face with tear gas can – Raw Story
* US citizen critically injured protesting illegal wall in Ni’ilin, West Bank – Amnesty USA
* American Protester Critically Injured by Soldiers in Ni’ilin – AWALLS
* Friend says activist’s life is ’somewhat at risk’ in Israel – KPIX
* Ex-Cal tree-sitter hurt in West Bank protest – San Fransisco Chronicle
* American Injured in Clash at Israeli Barrier – New York Times
* U.S. citizen critically hurt at West Bank protest – Ha’aretz
* US national badly hurt in anti-fence protest – Ynet
* American hurt in West Bank barrier demo – AFP
* American badly hurt in clash with Israeli military – AP
* US demonstrator critically injured at West Bank protest – Jerusalem Post
* US activist critically injured by Israeli troops during protest in Ni’lin village – IMEMC