An Italian solidarity activist was critically injured along with 11 other Palestinians, Friday afternoon, after Israeli forces opened live fire on a protest march in the village of Kafr Qaddum, to the west of Nablus.Palestinian Minister of Health, Jawad Awwad, told Ma’an News Agency that 30-year-old Italian activist Patrick Corsi was injured after Israeli forces fired several bullets at him, in the stomach and chest.
Awad said that Corsi was in ‘critical’ condition as a result of the shooting, noting that ‘shooting live fire at the upper part of the bodies of protesters is directly targeting them and is a deliberate attempt at murder.’
‘Israel does not differentiate between foreign solidarity activists, Palestinians, or even journalists,’ he added.
‘We were standing with a group of Palestinian demonstrators when Patrick was shot. The military had fired three rounds of tear gas, and then a shot rang out and Patrick stumbled back. There was between five and ten minutes from the last tear gas canister fired and the bullet that shot Patrick.’
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) confirmed the shooting in a statement, adding that an 18-year-old Palestinian was also shot in the chest with live bullets.
‘The Italian activist, known as Patrick, was wearing a yellow high visibility jacket when he was shot,’ ISM stated.
‘He was just standing there, peacefully protesting, wearing a hi-viz jacket, he wasn’t doing anything and they just decided to shoot him,’ the statement quoted an ISM volunteer at the scene as saying.
According to ISM, 10 Palestinian protesters were also wounded by rubber-coated steel bullets, in addition to 18-year-old Sami Jumma who was struck by live fire.
‘The bullet entered Patrick’s chest near a main blood vessel, but thankfully did not puncture it. If God forbid it had, the lengthened journey to the hospital because of the closed road could have cost Patrick his life,’ ISM media coordinator Ally Cohen was quoted to say.
Due to the Israeli closure of Kafr Qaddum’s main road to Nablus, travel time to the nearest hospital is increased to approximately 30 minutes, instead of 10.
Protests are held every Friday in Kafr Qaddum.
As a result of violent dispersal of a weekly protest march in the village of Bilin, near Ramallah, on Friday, one Palestinian was injured with a tear gas canister while dozens of other Palestinian and international activists suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation.
The march began at the center of the village, in protest against the Israeli occupation and the separation wall, and in solidarity with Jerusalem and its holy sites.
Israeli forces, however, prevented protesters from marching toward lands that have been confiscated in order to build the separation wall.
Soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas canisters, and stun grenades toward protesters, hitting and injuring sixteen-year-old Muhammad Abu Rahmeh in the leg.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories, of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part, have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.