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Home > News & Analysis > Fact Sheets
A Pattern of Abuse Against American Citizens


In coming days, ten ships will take part in a flotilla attempting to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Among the ships will be the U.S.-flagged "Audacity of Hope," carrying 36 U.S. citizens. Last year, the Israeli navy attacked a previous humanitarian flotilla in international waters, killing nine passengers, including one American.

Passengers on the "Audacity of Hope" have contacted the State Department, the White House, and members of Congress to notify them of the flotilla. They have urged the government to work to ensure the safety and free passage of the ships and to warn Israel against attacking unarmed civilian vessels with U.S. citizens on board who are exercising their legal rights. Instead, the State Department - whose mission in part is to protect and assist U.S. citizens traveling abroad - has issued numerous statements labeling the flotilla as an "irresponsible and provocative" action that risk[s] the safety of their passengers" and "creat[es] a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves". The administration has also alluded to prosecuting the passengers, who will be delivering thousands of letters of solidarity and friendship to the people of Gaza, for providing material support to a designated terrorist organization. [3]

Though Israeli state violence against foreign nationals is often portrayed as an aberration, over the past 8 years alone, Israel has killed and/or severely injured a number of American citizens. Below are 10 such examples:



FurkanDogan.jpg
Furkan Dogan
Troy, NY
19 year-old American Furkan Dogan was on the Mavi Marmara, a 600-passenger ship sailing as part of a flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid. In the early hours of May 31st, 2010, Israeli commandos dropped onto the ship in international waters and attempted to commandeer it, leading to a struggle for control of the ship. Among others, Dogan was shot at close range with 4 bullets to the head and 1 to the chest.






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Emily Henochowicz
New York, NY
HenochowiczAfter.jpg
(After attack)
On May 31st, 2010 21-year old Emily Henochowicz was hit in the face with a tear gas projectile fired directly at her by an Israeli soldier during a demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint. Henochowicz was taking part in a demonstration against the widely-condemned Israeli attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla. As a result of the attack, Emily lost her left eye.





TristanAnderson75.jpg
Tristan Anderson
Oakland, CA




AndersonAfter.jpg
(After attack)




On March 13th, 2009 in the Palestinian village of Ni'lin, American peace activist Tristan Anderson was critically injured after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a tear-gas canister. Anderson, 37 years old and from California, was taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv.

He was unconscious and bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a large hole in the right part of his forehead where he was struck by a tear gas canister. After 15 months in Tel Hashomer, some of that time in a coma, and at least one surgery, Tristan recently returned to his home in Northern California, still quasi-paralyzed.




BrianAvery75.jpg
Brian Avery
Albuquerque, NM




AveryAfter2.jpg
(After attack)





On April 5, 2003, Israeli troops shot peace activist Brian Avery in Jenin. Avery, a 24-year-old American citizen from Albuquerque, New Mexico, experienced serious wounds to his face after Israeli troops shot at him with heavy machine gun fire from an armored personnel carrier (APC).

There were no reports of clashes on the street where the shooting took place and Avery was clearly marked as an observer. Avery's cheek was torn and his eye socket and jaw bones were smashed, leading to at least 6 rounds of surgery. In a rare occurrence in November 2008, the Israeli government paid Avery $150,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed against them.





RachelCorrie75.jpg
Rachel Corrie
Olympia, WA
On March 16th, 2003 in Rafah, occupied Gaza, 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie from Olympia, Washington, was murdered by an Israeli bulldozer driver. Rachel was in Gaza opposing the bulldozing of a Palestinian home as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement.

According to a Palestine Monitor report of the incident, "Other foreigners who were with her said the driver of the bulldozer was aware that Rachel was there, and continued to destroy the house. Initially he dropped sand and other heavy debris on her, then the bulldozer pushed her to the ground where it proceeded to drive over her, fracturing both of her arms, legs and skull."




Zaid Khalil
New York, NY


In April of 2002, while participating in a peaceful march along with other internationals in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, New York City resident Zaid Khalil was struck in the leg as Israeli soldiers opened fire.


lucas1.jpg
Lucas Koerner
lucas2.jpg
During Arrest
On June 1, 2011, 19-year-old Tufts University student Lucas Koerner was assaulted and arrested by Israeli police while he peacefully protested the annual Jerusalem Day march, an official Israeli holiday when Israelis parade through occupied East Jerusalem to celebrate its 1967 occupation by Israel. Police grabbed, punched, choked and then threw Koerner to the ground. After being arrested he was taken to the emergency room to be treated for the wounds inflicted by police.




munib1.jpg
Munib Masri
A 22-year-old Geology student at the American University of Beirut, Munib Masri was shot in the back with live ammunition by Israeli forces along the Lebanon border on May 15, 2011. Participating in a march to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba - the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes during the establishment of Israel - Masri was leaving the demonstration when he was shot. Treated in a Beirut hospital, the bullet destroyed Masri's left kidney, his spleen and broke apart in his spine. During the demonstration, eleven people were killed by Israeli forces and more than 100 wounded.




whitman1.jpg
Christopher Whitman



whitman2.jpg
Whitman's injury


On May 13, 2011, 25-year-old Christopher Whitman, a Master's student of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Hebrew University, was shot in the head at close range with a high-velocity tear gas canister by Israeli Border Police. He was in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, at the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the construction of Israel's separation wall in the village. That week's demonstration also commemorated the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba - the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes during the establishment of Israel. Whitman was treated at Ramallah Hospital.





Sandra1.jpg
Sandra Quintano After assault
On May 1, 2011, Sandra Quintano, 60, was assaulted by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Izbet al-Tabib in the Qalqilya district during a peaceful demonstration against the construction of a fence which would cut off villagers' access to their land. She suffered a gash to the top of her head and both her wrists were broken, one severely. She was treated in an Israeli hospital and continues to undergo physical therapy in the U.S.








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