American Student Shot in the Head by Israeli Security Forces
An American graduate student filming Palestinian demonstrators was shot in the head with a high-velocity tear gas canister by Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. According to the Palestine Monitor and his own account published on Mondoweiss, 25-year-old Christopher Whitman suffered a serious head injury and multiple fractures in his hand when he was struck by the projectile fired by Israeli border guards. The guards shot Whitman in the head from close range, in direct violation of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) regulations.
I was in the street with just a few observers documenting the incident. I saw that they started shooting tear gas from a distance of 50ft (15m) which is far to close, and they were not shooting it into the air. I decided to duck and knee just a little and got nailed on the top of the head above my forehead. I almost fell completely to the ground. From there I was picked up by two Palestinians who brought me to the ambulance with blood over my head and face. I then pointed to my face as we passed the Israeli army and border police and yelled “is this is what the most moral army in the world does!?” And then I was put into the ambulance.
The paramedic cleaned up my wounds as best he could. I felt delirious and discombobulated. At one point the blood loss was so extreme the places in my body that were farthest from my heart (fingers, knees) began tensing to a point of no control and I felt like a cripple. The ambulance arrived at Ramallah Hospital 30 minutes later, but my treatment was delayed due to a strike. I saw many doctors, had x-rays, CT scans, and stitches free of charge. Many people who were at the protest came to see how I was and even had a gift given to me from the village…which was the piece of my head the was knocked off by the tear gas cannister.
Whitman was filming demonstrations marking Nakba Day, a mournful remembrance of the 1948 forcible expulsion of some 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland by Zionists in the process of establishing the Jewish state of Israel. In separate incidents, 13 Palestinians were shot dead yesterday by Israeli forces as thousands of demonstrators attempted– some successfully– to “illegally” enter Israel.
Here is Whitman’s footage of the Nabi Saleh protest. “The last frame is me getting shot at close range with a high-velocity tear gas canister,” he writes.
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