“A Palestinian from the village of Nabi Saleh remains in critical condition after he was hit in the face with a direct shot from a tear gas canister.”
*** We apologize for the graphic photos but the reality in the occupied West Bank is more Horrible.***
Mustafa Tamimi, 27, was critically injured on Friday in the village of Nabi Saleh when an Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister directly at his head from a short distance.
Witnesses say the soldier was less than ten meters away when he fired, causing severe damage to the orbital region of Tamimi’s face.
“Half of his face was destroyed, pretty much. It looked really, really bad and he lost a lot of blood,” said Lazar Simeonov, a photographer that was in the village at the time. “I am not sure he will make it.”
Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the weekly protests in Nabi Saleh. A larger crowd than usual had gathered for this week’s demonstration, including a delegation from the United Nations.
After more than an hour of tear gas salvos from the soldiers against the main core of demonstrators, a group of Palestinian youth had set up a small road block of stones on a main road, where they began throwing rocks at soldiers.
An Israeli military bulldozer came to remove the hand-made obstacle with three Israeli jeeps to guard it. Palestinian youths began throwing stones at the bulldozer when Israeli soldiers emerged from the jeeps and began firing. One of the soldiers launched a tear gas canister directly at Tamimi. Other protesters ran over to help him before he was rushed away in a small ambulance.
The vehicle was stopped by soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance of the village and Tamimi was removed from the ambulance, where he was treated on the spot by soldiers before being taken to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.
Several people have been killed or injured by tear gas canisters discharged by Israeli soldiers in recent years. The crowd dispersal weapons were intended to be fired skyward, a directive often disregarded by the soldiers.
Nabi Saleh, a small Palestinian village near Ramallah, has had much of its land appropriated by the neighboring Jewish settlement of Halamish. After a critical water well was taken by settlers two years ago, local residents of Nabi Saleh began organizing non-violent protests.
*All photos by Lazar Simeonov.