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U.S. activist hurt during West Bank protest

Israel closes case of U.S. activist hurt during West Bank protest
By The Associated Press
Tags: Israel news, Tristan Anderson

The Justice Ministry declared Sunday that no indictments will be filed against police in the case of an American activist who was hit by a tear gas canister and left comatose during a violent demonstration in the West Bank last year.

Tristan Anderson, 38, of Oakland, California, was critically injured during a Palestinian protest in the West Bank village of Naalin last March. Amir Moran, spokesman for Israel's Tel Hashomer hospital, where Anderson is being treated, said his condition has not changed.

Justice Ministry spokesman Ron Roman said the investigation determined there was no criminal intent in harming Anderson. The investigation was opened in May and closed several weeks ago, but results were made public only Sunday.

Human rights groups charge Anderson's case highlights a culture of impunity toward Israeli forces, because incidents of harm against Palestinians and their supporters are rarely investigated and few reach prosecution.

The number of civilians harmed and injured and then the number of investigations - a small minority of cases, and a tiny number of prosecutions - point to a very, very clear picture of impunity, said Sarit Michaeli of Israeli rights group B'Tselem.

There were around 400 protesters at the demonstration where Anderson was injured in Naalin last year, the military said at the time. Some of them threw rocks at troops, who used riot gear to quell the unrest, it added, without elaborating.

Anderson's family was not immediately available for comment.

Israel has said its forces were responding to attacks by violent demonstrators who were ignoring an order declaring the area an off-limits closed military zone. Such clashes are a weekly Friday event in several places along the Israeli separation barrier, as Palestinians and their backers gather to confront Israeli troops.

Israel says the 425-mile (680-kilometer) barrier is necessary to keep Palestinian attackers out. The barrier juts into the West Bank in some places, leaving about 10 percent of the territory on the Israeli side. Palestinians view it as a land grab.

Also Sunday, Benny Begin, a hawkish minister in the Israeli Cabinet, laid a cornerstone for a new neighborhood at a settlement near the West Bank city of Hebron. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a 10-month moratorium on West Bank construction in November to try to restart peace talks, but the Palestinians rejected the move as insufficient.

Near the West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday, an elderly Palestinian woman was dragged away by Israeli forces after she and her son tried to prevent Jewish settlers from planting olive trees on a patch of disputed land.

Footage filmed by The Associated Press shows the woman, wearing a long robe and headscarf, struggling with the two female soldiers, calling them dogs. She appears to faint, and residents carry her away on a blanket.

The Israeli military said the woman assaulted the soldier
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