Page last updated at 16:41 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Israel police not charged over activist shooting

Tristan Anderson
Tristan Anderson was shot in the face and critically injured

Charges will not be brought against the police officers who shot an American pro-Palestinian activist in the face, Israel's justice ministry has said.

Tristan Anderson suffered severe brain damage when he was shot at a rally in the West Bank town of Naalin last year.

The officers did not have any "criminal intent" when they shot Mr Anderson, a ministry spokesman said.

Mr Anderson, 38, was in a coma for months and can only communicate with basic sounds, friends say.

The case was closed without indicting anyone after an internal police investigation because "there was no proof of criminal behaviour by the police", Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen told the AFP news agency .

Regular clashes

Mr Anderson, from Oakland California, was among 400 people demonstrating against the building of the West Bank barrier.

The village is one of several places where stone-throwing Palestinian youths clash regularly with police.

Mr Anderson was shot by a riot policeman from between 60-70 m (213ft), it was reported.

The Anderson family's lawyer said Mr Anderson had not been throwing rocks at police, according to AFP.

"The demonstration was actually for all practical purposes over," said Michael Sfard, who insisted the family would appeal the decision.

A number of European or American activists have been killed or injured in demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza.

Tom Hurndall, 22, was shot by an Israeli sniper in 2003 while at a demonstration in Gaza, he died in Britain nine months later.

Rachel Corrie, 23, was also killed in Gaza a month earlier when a bulldozer crushed her.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague issued an advisory ruling that the barrier was illegal and should be removed.

Israel's official position is that the barrier is a security fence, defending its citizens from attacks by Palestinians.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, view it as as a land grab as the route of the wall cuts deep into the West Bank in places.

Only 15% of the barrier follows the Green Line, the internationally recognised boundary between the West bank and Israel.

The barrier, is a mixture of fences, barbed wire, ditches and concrete slabs up to 8m (26ft) high.

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