Even peaceful demonstrators are at risk in the West Bank. A Canadian photographer thinks the Israeli sniper in this photo is the one who shot her on December 11th. She was in the West Bank legally, documenting the actions of the Israeli military in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem – territory that the Canadian government agrees Israel occupies ‘illegally’. But so far the Government of Canada has not said a word about the incident. See my video interview.
“Why does the Canadian government not say anything when Israel acts illegally? Why does Canada allow Israel to act above the law?’ asks Rehab Nazzal.
These are good questions.
Nazzal, who is of Palestinian origin, has been a Canadian citizen for more than 20 years. Her photographic works documenting Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians have been shown nationally in Canada, as well as internationally. In 2013, the Israeli Ambassador to Canada tried unsuccessfully to prevent an exhibition of her works from being shown at Ottawa City Hall. News of her wounding spread rapidly through the Canadian artistic community.
Nazzal is a third year PhD student in Western’s Visual Arts Department. She holds a SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship to investigate the sonic effect of unmanned robotic weapons and surveillance systems on civilians, and has been documenting the clashes between the Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian protesters. Her research focuses on the effect of the Israeli weapons that target human senses: sound bombs, teargas and Skunk chemicals.
On December 11th, she was in Bethlehem (which is in occupied Palestinian territory) taking pictures of Israeli soldiers who were trying to repress a protest by unarmed civilians by shooting a foul smelling liquid on them and on the nearby Palestinian houses.
In a video interview with Nazzal twelve days after the shooting, (apologies for the poor audio quality) she told me that there is still no evidence the Canadian government has made any attempt to find out what happened or why. Nor is there any evidence that the Canadian government has made any protest to the Israeli government.
Why the apparent disinterest? Is it because Nazzal is an Arab Canadian that our government is less interested in defending her rights? Is it because she is a Palestinian Canadian? Its hard not to wonder what the government’s reaction would have been if, for example, a Ukrainian Canadian or a Jewish Canadian had been shot by Palestinian authorities in the West Bank.
‘Canada is back’ claims Mr. Trudeau. Does that mean that Canada will start treating Israel on the basis of international law? It remains to be seen.
If you are concerned about Canada’s lack of response on this issue, many petitions are circulating demanding that the Canadian government take action.