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Shooting of ISM-ers in Balata

frank/mika | 25.10.2003 10:26 | Anti-militarism | Repression | Cambridge

Just received this account in the middle of last night from my close friend, a former Cambridge student who is working in Palestine.

Mika's report:

Last night, two Palestinian boys and two Nablus ISMers were shot.

Five of us were standing just inside the entrance to Balata refugee camp, observing a clash between three Israeli military vehicles and Palestinian stone-throwers. As always, we were hoping that our clearly visible international presence would make the soldiers less likely to kill somebody, and that we could deter them from entering the camp proper.

The two jeeps and Hummer drove in and out of the entrance, shooting both rubber and live bullets. The Palestinians responded with stones and two molotovs, but not with shooting. Several times the Hummer would sneak into a backstreet and come tearing down on the stone-throwing boys from behind. The soldiers were clearly playing. They weren't on an operation, ie arresting someone or searching a house. Their purpose appeared to be to create the clash - something that happens 2-4 evenings a week.

Mark and Jeremy were on the right side of the road, the other three of us on the left - I would have taken Jeremy's place if the seat of my trousers hadn't been embarrasingly torn picking olives that day.
At one point, the soldiers shot out the electricity box, sending the camp into pitch blackness. Before we could pull back, they let off a volley of shots down the left. One bullet went through a brick wall,
striking Mark's left thigh, cutting open Jeremy's left thigh and entering his right leg. We ran them to a nearby Palestinian house and waited for an ambulance.

On the way to hospital, the ambulance was stopped by soldiers, who delayed us by opening the back doors, staring at us and denying that Mark and Jeremy had been shot by soldiers.

Mark (US) and Jeremy (Australia) are in hospital - Jeremy had a 1 square centimetre fragment of the bullet dug out from his leg - it was sitting in pretty deep. But they'll both be fine. Two Palestinian boys were also injured, though they had v minor wounds and were released from hospital pretty quickly.

According to Mark, Jeremy, and the other international witnesses (including myself), they were clearly visible to the hummer before being shot at, having appeared in the spotlight of the vehicle three separate times.

The sole report on Nablus in Ha'aretz, the main 'left-wing' Israeli newspaper:

00:59 Palestinians throw two explosive devices at IDF soldiers in Nablus; no injuries reported.

Other recent occurences: A few days ago we blocked a Hummer from driving into Balata camp by sitting on the road. At one point it shot a live bullet a foot over our heads. A week ago we were snatched by soldiers and taken to Huwwarra military base for olive-picking in 'Awarta village.


For more information see Mika's website,, or the ISM website,

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Display the following 6 comments

  1. ISM — Nick Johnson
  2. — -
  3. a few questions — bint kufr
  4. ISM is Palestinian led — frill
  5. bint kufr — ftp
  6. Support in Sudan — Sam