A Norwegian volunteer for ISM (International Solidarity Movement) was shot by an Israeli soldier in Kafr Qaddum on Saturday while helping an elderly man retrieve his car keys.
Kristin Foss had arrived with her friend at Kafr Qaddum, a village in the West Bank, responding to requests from inhabitants due to violence from Israeli soldiers, Foss wrote in a statement on the ISM website.
Clashes occur in the village on Fridays and Saturdays, when villagers would protest the closing of the main road to its Palestinian inhabitants by Israeli soldiers 7 years ago.
Israeli soldiers have fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas at demonstrators, Foss wrote. She added that they have sprayed raw sewage into inhabitants’ houses and shot live ammunition at peaceful protesters, including children and the elderly.
On Saturday, there were already clashes when she and Anna arrived, with soldiers present shooting rubber-coated bullets at a group of boys who were throwing rocks back. Foss said she and her friend observed the shooting for about an hour and a half, witnessing no injuries except tear gas inhalation.
When the shooting stopped, a “senior citizen” approached Foss, asking if she could help him. His keys and car had been confiscated by soldiers, who had parked it in the middle of the road. She and her friend agreed to accompany him to ask the soldiers for his car back, she said.
Foss walked towards the soldiers with her hands in the air, together with her friend and the elderly man. A soldier shouted at her in Hebrew, she said, which she did not understand, but she shouted back that the man wanted his car back. The soldier replied that it was dangerous. She shouted back: “It is only dangerous because he is pointing a machine gun at me”.
As Foss was shouting, two shots were fired at her, one of which hit her in the abdomen, from about 20-30 metres, she estimated. “It is absolutely no doubt I was targeted and shot deliberately,” she wrote.
In pain, Foss was helped to the Red Crescent ambulance by nearby Palestinians, and received treatment for the wound by ambulance staff. She wanted to return to confront the shooter from a safe distance. “I was angry about being shot, whilst unarmed, after having declared our mission – and whilst posing absolutely no threat,” she wrote. But her friend was suffering from tear gas inhalation, and Foss was concerned about being shot again, so they did not protest much longer.
She wrote in her statement on the ISM website of her awareness that as a Norwegian she has been shielded from violence like this in the past. “This incident however, has only strengthen my resolve to keep fighting, in solidarity, with the Palestinians – who unlike me have no choice,” she said. “Thousands of Palestinians have been shot this year alone… Whilst my case have been blown up in media, theirs go unnoticed.”
“Palestinians have to live with this everyday,” she continued. “I do not, not even for one second, forget that what happened to me, is only a small taste, a minuscule taste of what life under Israel occupation is like. Free Palestine!”