American Tristan Anderson shot by Israeli Defense Forces

03/13/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

An American is in critical condition with life-threatening wounds after being shot in the head today by a member of the Israeli Defense Forces, or IDF.

Tristan Anderson, from California, is in a Tel-Aviv hospital after being transported from the village of Na’alin in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank.

WMNF spoke with David Jacobus, who is in the hospital with Anderson.

David Jacobus: “We actually just got word from the surgeons who came out. He has a very high velocity impact in his right forehead. There are bone fragments in the right temporal lobe. They’ve tried to remove most of the fragments. They’re not sure if there’s a deeper brain injury, there might be. They wouldn’t say if, you know, he’s going to lose his vision or not but they said that his eye is in really bad shape.

“He’s now being moved to the intensive care unit and he’s on a respirator. He’s in a life-threatening condition for at least the next few days while they try to control the fluid leakage. They’ve only really looked at the surface of the injury that sort of blew a hole in the front of the forehead and they’re trying to find out if there’s any deeper injuries.”

WMNF’s Seán Kinane: “If you could tell our listeners what happened – what led up to this injury?”

David Jacobus: “Sure, this was at a weekly protest in a village that’s close to the Apartheid Wall, named Na’alin. And the protest began in the middle of the day, around noon, and it took about three hours. When Tristan was hit, it was about 45 minutes after things had really started to end. There was a movement of the villagers out towards the wall and the army responds with violence. After everyone had retreated to the village, the army continued to the village and started using offensive force in the village.

“There was also a Palestinian shot with live ammunition about 2 meters from me by a sniper who had taken over a house. So this wasn’t really like a repulsive action they were using to defend the wall, which is what the army orders are. It was an offensive, you know, intimidation, violence that moved into the city. I had actually left the village about ten minutes before Tristan was shot because everything had been calm for about 40 minutes and there didn’t seem to be significant military presence. But they’d started to push in on another side of the village.”

“And he was shot with what seems like a new tear gas device that’s shot from an M-16 at very high velocity. It’s not supposed to be used under 40 meters; at least that’s what it says on the shell casings that people have found around. But it’s really only been used quite recently. And it’s just a large missile-like bullet that opens on impact.”

WMNF’s Seán Kinane: “And according to Ha’aretz, the IDF said that the protest violated an injunction issued by a Major General because they were in a closed military zone that’s off-limits to demonstrators. But it sounds like you’re telling me that Tristan wasn’t in this closed military zone -- that he was in the town?”

David Jacobus: “Yeah, the village is actually about a kilometer away from the wall. And the military orders that are issued are within the proximity of the wall. And as I said before, the army’s own rules allowing this offensive force within the Jerusalem corridor of the wall are to defend the wall from attack. But this is actually part of the military’s post-protest follow-up where they invade the village and then harass people and go after them.

“This occurred inside of the village just off the main road, actually. I mean, there were other villagers, just you know, people continued their daily business after the protest had ended. The markets are closed because it’s Friday, but people were making their trips to visit family, and circulating on the street.”

WMNF’s Seán Kinane: “Do you know the status of the Palestinian who was injured?”

David Jacobus: “The Palestinian was shot with a .22 [caliber] live ammunition by a sniper, which they started to use. And it went clean through his leg, so actually Tristan is in a much more grave condition than the Palestinian who had been shot. He was able to make it to a hospital in Ramallah, and I hear he’s doing all right.

“But there were some complications with Tristan’s travel because the Palestinian ambulance is the one that had to take him and it was held up at a check-point where they wouldn’t allow it though. The report is that there were a ten to fifteen minute delay at that checkpoint for him to be transferred to an Israeli ambulance before he was brought into Tel-Aviv.”

WMNF’s Seán Kinane: “So that’s where you are, you’re in a hospital in Tel-Aviv?”

David Jacobus: “Yeah, it’s called Tel Hashomer hospital. Right now there’s an ophthalmologist looking at the eye. But, I mean, they said it was a pretty serious hit.”

article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz

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