FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A nonviolent demonstration meant to take place at the entrance to the West Bank village of Kafr Haris against the destruction of Palestinian olive groves for the construction of an Israeli-only bypass road was attacked in route by Israeli soldiers. Four adults and one child were injured by tear gas canisters that were fired directly at individuals. An Austrian peace activist was arrested.
Protesters, a mix of Palestinians from Kafr Haris and foreign and Israeli activists, started at 10 a.m. marching peacefully to the roadblock that cuts off traffic into the entrance to the village, located near the road leading to the Ariel Settlement. Soldiers approached activists early in their walk to the nonviolent demonstration and fired tear gas before they could reach the settler-only road project.
22-year-old Ahmad Al Shakur Palestinian man was struck directly in the mouth by a tear gas canister fired by soldiers as he stood still inside his village with demonstrators. The canister ricochet off of the man’s face and struck his 7-year-old daughter in the head. Ahmad was transported to a hospital in Nablus for serious injuries, including the likelihood of a broken jaw and several lost teeth.
Another tear gas canister fired directly into the crowd struck 35-year-old Imad Hammad in the chest, breaking rib bones. He was also taken transported to the Nablus hospital.
An Austrian peace activist was arrested by soldiers and shortly after the tear gas was fired. He has been transfered to a jail in the Ariel settlement.
60-year-old Abed Zuhdi other suffered from direct exposure to the tear gas and Feras Khofash, 27, was hit in the face with by a tear gas canister that struck that bounced off the ground and hit him in the face.
Firing tear gas canisters directly at individuals or a crowd is forbidden under Israeli law. Despite this, Israeli soldiers regularly aim and shoot the canisters directly at nonviolent demonstrators causing serious injuries. These incidents are seldom investigated by the military, fostering an atmosphere where soldiers feel free to use allegedly nonlethal weapons in more dangerous and potentially deadly ways.
For more information, or to find witnesses to this incident, contact Nasfat at 0599-841-006 or 052-233-7257.