Israeli forces opened fire on two peace activists

An Australian and American peace activist were shot in the legs at Balata refugee camp and were taken to Rafidia Hospital where they are undergoing treatment. Within hours of the shooting, the Arab news channel Al-Jazeera released details, but witheld the identities of the injured until their families could be contacted.

Representatives from the International Solidarity Movement said that the two peace activists were shot after accompanying Palestinian children away from Israeli soldiers who entered the refugee camp near Nablus at 8 pm. Two Palestinian boys were hit by rubber-coated metal bullets. However, according to reports, the American and Australian peace activists were shot at with live ammunition. One of the boys was hospitalized and later released.

Israeli army officials told Al-Jazeera that live ammunition was also used to fire on Palestinian children. They told the news network that they were unaware of the shootings of the peace activists. According to ISM, Israeli forces fired indiscriminately inside Balata refugee camp. There was no Palestinian gunfire and it was clear that the Israeli soldiers were firing on unarmed civilians.

On the way to Rafidia hospital, the ambulance driver transporting the Internationals was detained by Israeli soldiers. The two are now undergoing treatment at the hospital. The American peace activist sustained injury to his right thigh when a live bullet grazed his leg. The Australian volunteer was shot through the leg. A live bullet passed through his left thigh and entered his right tigh. According to eyewitnesses they were clearly visible before being shot at.

At night, they were subject to a military invasion of Rafidia hospital. According to news reports heavily armed Israeli soldiers entered the hospital at 3 pm and arrested three Palestinian men. The Australian peace activist said: “Lying there, I could feel the pain from the wound earlier in the evening and it made the threat of the weapon they were pointing at me much harder to ignore. Normally we assume that they are not willing to shoot us, but earlier in the day they proved the exact opposite. With the barrel of the gun aimed at my legs, I was more terrified than I have ever been in my life”.

Patients were held at gunpoint in an ordeal lasting over an hour. One of the peace activists said: “Many of the patients are very anxious that the troops will return overnight tonight.”

“As terrified as I was, I eventually realised that it must be so much worse for the Palestinians because there’s nothing protecting them or restraining the soldiers from shooting,” the American volunteer said.