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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Americans press Israel for justice

Tue, 24 Mar 2009 05:23:14 GMT | PressTV

Nancy Anderson reacts to the ongoing tragedy her family suffers while talking about her son Tristan during a press conference in Jerusalem (al-Quds) on March 23, 2009.
The parents of injured American peace activist Tristan Anderson demand that Tel Aviv assume "full responsibility" for shooting their son.

Israeli policeman shot 38-year-old Tristan in the head with a high velocity tear gas canister earlier this month during a regular demonstration against the West Bank segregation wall.

When complete, the wall will further push the 60-year-old Israeli landgrabbing campaign by dividing Palestinians in Nilin from 400 acres of their farmland.

Since last July, Israeli forces have killed four Palestinians in similar demonstrations in the village of Nilin where Tristan was shot, according to Guardian.

Tristan, who is in a very critical condition and in a medically induced coma at the Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, has lost the sight in his right eye and doctors had to remove portions of his frontal lobe.

After undergoing three operations, whether he will survive or not remains a mystery.

Activists who witnessed the shooting say the canister -- with a range of 400 meters -- was shot directly at Tristan from a distance of 60 meters and at a time that the crowd had begun to disperse.

Tristan and his immediate companions, according to the peace activists, were far from the segregation wall and were neither throwing stones nor posing any threat to Israeli forces.

"We are horrified and overwhelmed," Tristan's mother Nancy said Monday. "To shoot peaceful demonstrators is really horrifying to us. What we want to ask is that the Israeli government publicly take full responsibility for the shooting of our son."

Nancy, who flew to Israel from their home near Sacramento in California along with her husband Michael to be at his bedside, said no Israeli official even bothered to contact the couple.

Tristan had also been involved in peace demonstrations in Iraq in 2003, El Salvador and Guatemala and also partook in the 2000 demonstrations in Prague against the World Bank and IMF.

Tristan receives treatment after Israeli forces shot him in the head using a teargas canister while protesting against the segregation wall. He has since lost the sight in his right eye and doctors had to remove portions of his frontal lobe.
"Tristan has always been interested in how societies that go through conflict are able to resolve their issues," explained his father. "He came to understand for himself what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was about."

Michael also took Tel Aviv to task for its aggressive policies and moral decay.

"It is ironic that the country in which he was shot is a democracy where it is supposed to be a duty for everyone to follow their conscience. We want to know the truth of what happened and we want justice for our son," he said.

"We want to know what happened and we want justice for our son."

Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard who is representing the Anderson family has revealed that an official complaint demanding an independent inquiry into the incident has been made.

According to Sfard, human rights researchers have evidence that proves the demonstrations to have been peaceful and that at the time of the shooting the border police and the segregation wall were under no threat.

"The policemen involved, both the guy who shot and the officers who gave orders, must take the full might of criminal justice," he said.

Israel has offered no sympathy for the Anderson family and suggests the situation to have been Tristan's fault for participating in the demonstrations.

A Palestinian farmer and his children are forced to pass a gate in an Israeli segregation wall to reach their land in the Jayus village. The wall has been placed strategically to cut Palestinians from their land and block their freedom of movement.
"Israel regrets that the Israeli and foreign nationals cooperate with violent rioters against the building of the security fence, whose purpose is saving the lives of Israeli citizens," an Israeli statement says.

"As such, any Israeli, Palestinian, or foreign national who illegally participates in a violent demonstration takes upon himself the risk of personal harm during the dispersal of these disturbances."

Nearly 120 criminal investigations sought against members of Israeli security forces since the beginning of the Intifada have led only to one conviction -- against an Arab-Israeli soldier who shot British peace activist Tom Hurndall dead in Gaza.

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