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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,

- e-mail:


Hide the following 6 comments


25.10.2003 11:21

little movie about palestine... if it uploads

Nick Johnson

25.10.2003 12:34

American and Australian shot by Israeli army
By Odai Sirri
Saturday 25 October 2003, 6:21 Makka Time, 3:21 GMT

Two international peace activists have been shot by Israeli soldiers at a Palestinian refugee camp near Nablus.

Details of the shooting were released to within hours of the incident on Friday evening, but the identities of the injured are being witheld until their families can be contacted.

The Australian and American men were both shot in the legs at the Balata refugee camp and were taken to Rafidia Hospital where they are now undergoing treatment.

According to the representatives from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the two were shot after escorting Palestinian children away from Israeli soldiers who entered the camp.

ISM officials said two Palestinian boys were hit by rubber bullets, but the American and Australian volunteers were shot with live bullets and remain in hospital.

Israeli army officials told that live rounds were also used to fire on Palestinian youths. Army officials said they were unaware of the shootings of the peace activists.

ISM officials told that Israeli soldiers fired indiscriminately inside the camp before cutting the electricity.

“They (Israeli soldiers) were shooting in complete darkness,” said Aron Baker.

Unarmed civilians

“There was no Palestinian gunfire; we were all clearly unarmed civilians; why were the soldiers shooting?” asked another ISM volunteer.

But the incident has again highlighted the risks international peace activists take in their effort to shed light on the plight of the Palestinian people.

In March 2003, 23-year-old American ISM peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death while trying to prevent an Israeli bulldozer from bulldozing a Palestinian home in the town of Rafah.

Five ISM peace activists were shot and wounded in July when Israeli soldiers fired on the demonstrators protesting the construction of Israel’s apartheid wall.

And in September, two European ISM activists were jailed by Israeli authorities for trying to prevent the destruction of another Palestinian home. The pair were held imprisoned for 10 days before being deported.



a few questions

25.10.2003 18:01

Please answer my questions?
Is this international solidary movement limiting its solidarity to Palestine?
How about the south of Sudan, where during the last 10-15 years about one million blacks were killed, because of beeing black and christian or animist?
How about the kurd districts of Syria?
How about the coptic districts of Egypt?

bint kufr

ISM is Palestinian led

25.10.2003 18:12

the ISM was set up and organised by Palestinians, and it is the Palestinian community that makes the requests for an international presence. No doubt the sympathies of international volunteers also extend to anywhere where people are suffering under extreme and oppresive conditions. But the point is that it is the Palestinian people who have put out the call for assistance.


bint kufr

26.10.2003 20:24

When you've made the cantacts in Sudan and other regions, got the invitation and got the framework set up to support volunteers, don't forget to post up the details.

Or, does your concern perhpas not extend that far?

Perhaps you're just trying to dent the atrocities that happen on a daily basis in illegally occupied Palestine?


Support in Sudan

27.10.2003 09:35

Bint Kufr - You are obviously concerned about the situation in Sudan, so why don't YOU do some reasearch, set things up and let us know how we can help there. As an ISMer I went to Palestine because I could and I am happy to go to other places to help in the same capacity. But rather than telling other people to set things up, you should take the initiative and we can learn more about the situation from you.