Israeli Army shoots member of Brighton delegation with rubber-coated steel bullet
from Brighton Palestine Friday 13th April 2007
A 28 yr old Brighton man was shot in the arm today by a rubber bullet fired by the Israeli Army. He was on a weekly demonstration against Israel’s apartheid wall in Bil’in village, Palestine.
For over two years, Palestinians in the West Bank village of Bil’in have been non-violently resisting Israel’s illegal annexation of their land. Yesterday they were joined as usual by Israeli and international supporters, including Tom and several other people from Brighton, as they began their march to the Apartheid Wall, which is being built a short walk from their village.
Before the demonstration reached the wall the Israeli Army started firing tear gas, saturating the olive groves, and the rubber coated bullets. It is thought that fourteen protesters were injured. A medic from the Palestinian Red Crescent was shot in the stomach, and another local man was shot in the groin. A visitor from France was shot by a tear gas canister at close range and sustained severe burns.
Tom, after being treated by the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance, said:
“This violent attack by the Israeli Army on peaceful unarmed demonstrators is unbelievable. The people of this village have had their land stolen, their olive trees uprooted, and their livelihoods devastated. By daring to protest against this injustice they are met with aggression and violence. This has made me more determined than ever to support them, and other people in Palestine, in their struggle for their land, their country, and their freedom.”
Tom was with several other people from Brighton, who are in Palestine as part of a delegation organised by Brighton Tubas Friendship Group. On of the delegation, Richard Johnson, aged 76 yrs, who was with him said:
“I was really upset to see Tom shot, but amazed by the persistence, resilience and enterprise of the local demonstrators. After the Army shot tear gas and rubber bullets, they reformed time and time again to try to finish their protest. Whilst I was on the demonstration I heard about a local man from the village whowas so badly beaten by the Israeli Army last night that he had three vertebrae broken. The Israeli Army then went to his house and shot his wife in front of his 15 children. Such behaviour is barbaric.I am proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Bil’in today and absolutely support them in their struggle.”