FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
British student injured by Israeli soldiers illegally firing tear gas canisters directly at protesters
An Nabi Saleh, West Bank
31 July 2010
A British student was injured yesterday (30 July 2010) when she was hit in the leg by a tear gas projectile fired directly at her, when Israeli soldiers violently repressed a peaceful protest in the West Bank.
Ellie Kidd, 23, from North London, is currently unable to walk due to the damage inflicted by the tear gas canister fired from approximately 50 metres away.
It is illegal to fire tear gas directly at human beings but Israeli soldiers frequently ignore the requirement to fire it up into the sky, instead firing directly at groups of peaceful protesters.
Kidd had joined a protest in the Palestinian village of An Nabi Saleh, 30 km northeast of Ramallah, where residents have since January 2010 been protesting against the theft of their land by the neighbouring illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish*.
Kidd was with around 15 other international and Israeli peace activists, whose presence at other demonstrations such as Bil’in has in the past discouraged the military from using such extreme force to repress demonstrations. However protests at An Nabi Saleh have from the start been dealt with using grossly disproportionate force** and numerous people have been injured in the last six months***.
Kidd said: “The demonstration had barely even begun when Israeli soldiers started firing tear gas canisters directly at us. I heard the first shot and turned around but there was no time to move out of the way. The Israeli army has no respect for international law, or even for Israel’s self-professed laws****, let alone respect for Palestinians who should have a right to demonstrate against the theft of their land without risking injury or death.
“I’ve seen the army fire directly at Palestinian children as young as five. It’s time the British government and the rest of the world stopped ignoring the war crimes that are committed here by Israel every day.”
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Notes for Editors:
* The illegal Halamish (Neve Zuf) settlement, located opposite An Nabi Saleh, has illegally seized nearly half of the village’s valuable agricultural land. In January 2010, hundreds of the village residents’ olive trees were uprooted by settlers.
** The An Nabi Saleh demonstration is routinely met with dozens of soldiers armed with M16 assault rifles, tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and percussion grenades. This is despite the fact that the District Coordination Office has confirmed that the spring which the villagers try to reach each week is on Palestinian land.
*** On the numerous injuries inflicted at Nabi Saleh, see for example:
**** In December 2009 an Israeli court decision awarded the property rights of the land to An Nabi Saleh residents, but this ruling has been ignored by soldiers and settlers.