Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Israel considers demonstrations against Wall ´Acts of War´ and consequently accepts no responsiblity for victims

 The Israeli ministry of Justice has announced that no indictments will be filed in the case of  Tristan Anderson (picture), an American who was critically wounded during a demonstration against the Wall on March 13 2009 in Nil´in on the Westbank.A spokesman of the ministry said that the investigation, which started in May, was closed last week.
Anderson, 38 was hit by a high velocity teargas cannister on his forehead. It inflicted fractures to his skull en severe brain damage. He underwent several life saving operations and has been in coma untill recently. After he awoke he was able to utter sounds, but unable to speak.

The fact that the case was closed came not really as a surprise. The Israeli Ministry of Defense informed Anderson’s family and legal counsel already in August  that it considers that he was shot during a protest in Nil’in, (...) which it considered an ´act of war.´ -That effectively absolved the soldiers responsibility from any liability under Israeli law, as the Alternative Information Centre said at the time. (....) 
The designation, under a recently amended tort law, automatically relieves Israel of its obligation to pay Anderson’s family any kind of compensation; Leah Tsemel, the attorney leading the Andersons’ civil suit against the Israeli government explained. The same categorization is used in cases against Palestinian victims “all the time.”  Overwhelming eyewitness and video evidence indicates that Tristan was not a combatant and presented no threat to the authorities; he was shot from a distance of 60 meters while taking pictures of the Wall with a group of Palestinians and internationals hours after the protest had been dispersed from the Wall’s construction site by the Israeli military. 
The Andersons, who have filed both a criminal complaint and a civil suit against the Israeli government, plan to fight the decision in Israeli and, if necessary, international courts.  In the words of Michael Sfard, the family’s criminal attorney, “[…] if a process by which unarmed civilian demonstration is classified by Israel as an ‘act of war,’ then clearly Israel admits that it is at war with civilians. International law identifies the incident as a clear case of human rights abuse.”

Peaceful protests against a policy labelled ´acts of war´.  I think that the Israelis really succeeded in out-Orwelling Orwell´s 1984.

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