The Israeli District Police in the Occupied West Bank exonerated an Israeli Army officer who shot an American peace activist in her eye during a protest at the Qalandia terminal, north of Jerusalem, six months ago. On May 31, the 21-year old American Art student, Emily Henochowicz, was hit in her eye with a tear gas canister fired by an Israeli soldier during a nonviolent protest.
Henochowicz, a student at the Cooper Union College based in New York was participating in a protest against the Israeli May 31 attack on the Turkish ship, Marmara, that was heading to Gaza to deliver humanitarian supplies. Nine Turkish peace activists were killed in the attack.
She was carrying a Turkish flag during the protest when a soldier fired a gas canister at her hitting her in the eye. She lost her eye and suffered several other fractures.
Her family filed a complaint to the Israeli Police arguing that the police officer deliberately fired the canister at her.
But the officer, the Border Police battalion commander and the company commander claimed that the canister hit her in the eye after it ricocheted off a barricade, Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported. They said that their claim is “backed by video footage”.
Representing Henochowicz and her family, Israeli Attorney, Michael Sfrad, slammed the police investigation and stated that the investigation was negligent and described it as a “sewage treatment plant for the Border Police”, Haaretz reported.
Sfrad said that the police did not speak to Haaretz reporter, Avi Issacharoff, and photographer Daniel Bar-On, who were both at the scene and managed to capture the attack in print and photos, Haaretz added.
Sfrad stated that failing to question objective witnesses, who stated that the officer took direct aim at Henochowicz, is considered an obstruction to the investigation and a “confession that there is no interest in finding the truth”.
The case is currently in the hands of the district attorney’s office, the police told Haaretz without giving any further information.
Emily was studying at an Art School in Jerusalem; she holds Israeli citizenship, her father was born in Israel and her grandparents are holocaust survivors.
After arriving in Israel, she started spending time in East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories, and her drawings started reflecting the suffering of the Palestinian life in the occupied territories.
Israel refused to pay a 37,000 USD bill for her treatment in Jerusalem and claimed that she was not intentionally shot. and that she “endangered herself by participating in the demonstration”.
Full August 5 Democracy Now Interview with Emily