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May-31-2010 22:09printcomments

Israeli Soldier Shoots American Art Student in Face

US activist loses eye after being shot in face with tear gas canister, she was protesting the deadly Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

US citizen Emily Henochowicz was shot directly in the face with a tear gas canister as she non-violently demonstrated against the Flotilla massacre
US citizen Emily Henochowicz was shot directly in the face with a tear gas canister as she non-violently demonstrated against the Flotilla massacre

(JERUSALEM ISM) - An American solidarity activist was shot in the face with a tear gas canister during a demonstration in Qalandiya, today. Emily Henochowicz is currently in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem undergoing surgery to remove her left eye, following the demonstration that was held in protest to Israel’s murder of at least 10 civilians aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters this morning.

21-year old Emily Henochowicz was hit in the face with a tear gas projectile fired directly at her by an Israeli soldier during the demonstration at Qalandiya checkpoint today. Israeli occupation forces fired volleys of tear gas at unarmed Palestinian and international protesters, causing mass panic amongst the demonstrators and those queuing at the largest checkpoint separating the West Bank and Israel.

“They clearly saw us,” said Sören Johanssen, a Swedish ISM volunteer standing with Henochowicz. “They clearly saw that we were internationals and it really looked as though they were trying to hit us. They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession. One landed on either side of Emily, then the third one hit her in the face.”

Henochowicz is an art student at the prestigious Cooper Union, located in East Village, Manhattan.

Henochowicz lost her left eye after being shot directly in the face with a
tear gas canister. Israeli soldiers are allowed to do this, even encouraged.

The demonstration was one of many that took place across the West Bank today in outrage over the Israeli military’s attack on the Gaza freedom flotilla and blatant violation of international law. Demonstrations also took place in inside Israel, Gaza and Jerusalem, with clashes occurring in East Jerusalem and Palestinian shopkeepers in the occupied Old City closing their businesses for the day in protest.

Tear gas canisters are commonly used against demonstrators in the occupied West Bank. In May 2009, the Israeli State Attorney’s Office ordered Israeli Police to review its guidelines for dispersing demonstrators, following the death of a demonstrator, Bassem Abu Rahmah from Bil’in village, caused by a high velocity tear-gas projectile. Tear-gas canisters are meant to be used as a means of crowd dispersal, to be shot indirectly at demonstrators and from a distance. However, Israeli forces frequently shoot canisters directly at protesters and are not bound by a particular distance from which they can shoot.

Israeli occupation forces boarded the Mavi Marmara, one of six ships on the Freedom Flotilla at 5 a.m. this morning, opening fire on the hundreds of unarmed civilians aboard. No-one aboard the ships were carrying weapons of any kind, including for defense against a feared Israeli attack in international waters. At least 9 aid workers aboard the ship have been confirmed dead, with dozens more injured. The assault took place 70 miles off the Gaza coast in international waters, after the flotilla was surrounded by three Israeli warships. The Freedom Flotilla, carrying 700 human rights activists from over 40 countries and 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid, was headed for the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip. The Israeli blockade on Gaza, combined with the illegal buffer zone, has put a stranglehold on the territory. 42% of Gazans are unemployed, and food insecurity hovers around 60% according to figures from the Palestine Centre for Human Rights.

Source: International Solidarity Movement

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Haris October 30, 2010 2:43 pm (Pacific time)

This has never been reported in the western media! It makes me sick that our governments bow down to the Zionist menaces.

Ben June 11, 2010 12:10 am (Pacific time)

Israel's PIETA

"If a single picture is worth a thousand words, the picture above is worth immeasurably more!

In this scene, a Palestinian woman -- ongoing victim of Israel’s oppressive occupation -- comes to the humane aid of a Jew, Emily Henochowicz, who lost an eye after being hit in the face by a tear gas canister fired by a fellow Jew.

Emily was standing peacefully during a demonstration in West Bank at the Qalandiya checkpoint on that black Monday, May 31, 2010 -- to protest the Gaza Flotilla massacre -- when Israeli Border Police fired a large number of tear gas canisters directly at the heads of Emily and another International Solidarity Movement activist.

In addition to losing her left eye, three metal plates were inserted into Emily's head/face, and her jaw is wired shut. The bone surrounding her eye socket, cheekbone and jawbone are all fractured. -Dom Martin"

Editor: Ben, our hearts are so completely broken over this, and if there was a single photo, I have to agree.  Emily embodies what is right in this world and we would like to be in contact with her if anyone can help, when the time is right.  

Andrew June 9, 2010 9:16 am (Pacific time)

Not at all Tim, I am not a Christian or Muslim hater. In fact I am half Christian myself by birth but I identify as secular. I even work in Bethlehem, Palestine weekly. I recently spent a week in Kuwait learning about Islam, so I think I can safely qualify myself as a Christian and Muslim admirer.

I put quotes around peace activists because not ALL of those aboard the Marmara ship were really there for peace. Of the 600 activists, I believe 90% really were peace activists like those found on the other 5 ships, and like Emily who you mentioned in your article. But there were also terrorists on that ship with the intent to hurt and I believe maybe even kill. And I think this fact also needs to be addressed if you are to deliver and balanced and fair account of what took place.

I live and work every day of my life to bring peace to Palestine. Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. and others that advocate non-violence would be shocked and dismayed at what was done on that ship by the Turks and Israelis. This is not the way to free Palestine, it only hurts our cause. This radical Turkish government is not helping, instead they should look introspectively at the genocide and continued denial of 1.5 million Armenians. Or even worse, Turkey's stealing of Northern Cyprus in 1974 and their current illegal occupation of this land, or their frequent massacres of Kurds.

All interesting points that maybe we should look at in addition to the Israeli oppression. This is not to say our focus should be taken away from Palestine, yet what I mean is that there are so many humanitarian disasters, and the Turks are throwing stones from glass houses. Maybe write an article about this point?

Tim King: Andrew, you believe this is important at this point in time?  The Turks I believe, are  the only reason the Raffah crossing opened, with Egypt's participation obviously.  Feel free to write it and I will look at it, but we both know it isn't the message I want to put across.  Thanks,  

Andrew June 9, 2010 2:38 am (Pacific time)

You clearly didn't read my comment thoroughly, if you had then you would have read "I dont particularly like Israel much myself" so your paragraph of ranting about how I love Israel as a Jew was somewhat a waste of your time. Notice how you didn't even pay mention to my comments regarding the Kurdish situation.

Israel does atrocious things, and I do as much as humanly possible to work for the Palestinians and end the occupation. But I do it in a productive way. I protest the apartheid wall, I have been in verbal battles with settlers IN the settlements. I have gone to the Erez crossing of Gaza to try to get in to deliver aid.
But I have not supported a ship comprised of a few extremists with proven links to the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood, who were armed to attack Israel soldiers. This is not a productive way to peace, in fact it hurts our cause. But I do support other peaceful ships like the Rachel Corrie that are really trying to help the Palestinians.

You have done an excellent job bringing to our attention the horrific incident that happened to poor Emily. However like I said you decided to report on biased and untrue facts regarding the "peace activists" on the Turkish ship in your last paragraph.
And the fact that I dare to defy you and question your motives and your methods makes me wrong? What are you going to do to me? Find out my IP address too and post it on this page as well and ask your readers to go after me? Beyond unprofessional and borderline illegal of you.
I am not afraid of your threats and afraid to be tracked down by you and your thugs of radical jew-haters if you decide to post my IP address, that will just prove to me how sad and pathetic you methods of journalism really are.

And before you go off on me with additional rants and threats, why not take a look at some of your other talk backs on this page, those that demonize Jews saying they are "sadistic jewish supremecists" and other anti-semitic comments. How about tracking down their IP addresses as hateful racists? Or maybe you agree with their antisemitism?

Tim King: Andrew, I hate Nazis and if you only knew.... Sorry for mischaracterizing you if I did, but you put quotes around 'peace activists' and that makes me think you are a Muslim and Christian hater, is that true? 

Andrew June 8, 2010 4:59 am (Pacific time)

What a completely unprofessional written article. Isn't journalism supposed to present facts and not clear bias? I am horrified by what the Israeli army did to poor Emily. This article gripped me, until the last paragraph where the author repeated lies and propaganda about the flotilla. Before you jump to your own "expert" opinions on the fact that the boat was filled with unarmed peace activists know the facts. There were terrorists on board, and they were carrying weapons intent on harm.  Your hatred of Israel is evident and you are entitled to your opinion, I dont particularly like Israel much myself, but then again I'm not trying to write "objective" journalism.  How about a report of the 6 Kurdish civilians the Turkish government massacred just days after the Gaza flotilla. Or even better, the 600 Darfur civilians killed in genocide by the Sudanese government just in the month of May alone.  Or maybe you just hate Jews so demonizing Israeli killing of 9 armed Turkish terrorists is more fun than saying anything close to the same against Turkey or Sudan?

Editor: What are you talking about?  So you are saying that if we don't hold the line of Israeli influence, that it is not real journalism?  These poor people have been so savaged by Israel for so long, it is sad and sick that people stick up for this cruel, racist imoral government.  Oh I'm sure you love Israel as a Jew, but I'm not a Jew and Israel's apartheid laws are different for me, as they are for my Islamic friends.  The Flotilla was announced, transparent, and good.  Good vs. Evil.  No decent nation would do what Israel does, that God there are good people within Israel trying to make a difference, and standing against the madness.  If I was Jewish I would be the first to say, "NOT IN MY NAME"  I am so proud of our Israeli friends and our Jewish writers in the U.S. and England who live to tell the truth.  

June 3, 2010 2:18 pm (Pacific time)

Should have ducked! At least that Corrie ...

Editor: Hey friends, particularly of the more technical variety, this is the bastard that writes the most horrible stuff in the world, he degrades things that no human should degrade.  So here is the SOB's IP:

Any help in getting an ID on this one would be appreciated. 

anon June 2, 2010 1:19 pm (Pacific time)

This is so heartbreaking. It kills me that Israel satanic government will be getting away with this AGAIN. So sad. RIP all innocent gaza children & people who fought for their freedom

ASH June 3, 2010 9:41 am (Pacific time)

Very Eye opening - everybody in USA should know what Israel is capable of and what it does even to its friends - God save all of us from the cancer ie Israel.

jgray June 3, 2010 7:41 am (Pacific time)

@Jacob - according to the released activists, the IDF fired first, some sort of grenade. israels govt acts like a terrible, violent rogue state. Their military being violent against civilians bringing aid is very consistent with their level of entitlement and militancy.

jgray June 3, 2010 7:33 am (Pacific time)

Editor - I agree with you on your stance re: Israel and the aid ships and Israels crimes against the people of Gaza. However your minimizing of Hamas' violence disturbs me. The missiles being "unguided" and not as bad as "when Israel lets loose" is absolutely no excuse. Civilian deaths, especially those of children, are always a tragedy and must be denounced! That said, I think all Americans incl. myself need a lot of education on the history of that region and the relationships between Hamas, Fatah, Israel, and the US who have backed (read "armed") Fatah thus escalating violence in the region. Has Hamas vowed to destroy Israel? I have heard that...Also i read that Egypt opened its border and Gazans tried to escape and Hamas wouldn't let them. It seems govn'ts are the same everywhere - even if you elect your leaders democratically they still serve their interests rather than that of the people.

Mohammed June 3, 2010 7:24 am (Pacific time)

I have heard it from the mouths of journalists who were on the mavi marmara (the leading ship that was attacked) that the Israeli navy surrounded the boat from all sides Inc the air, and fired rubber coated plastic bullets as well as diff types of grenades, then 5 mins later they were firing live rounds..from the boats and from the helicopter..after the passangers displayed white flags he firing continued.. This was before any soldiers boarded the aid ship, 2 ppl were killed at this stage one being shot on top of the head proving the firing from the air. 3 other ppl were injured during this period, they were put in a corner and clearly marked as I injured in several languages Inc Hebrew..when the soldiers boarded they were told of the injured and they ignored them for 3 hours..those 3 consequantly died... Amid the post white flag shooting of live rounds the passengers wanted ways yo defend themselves..and being civilians they were of course unarmed so some took to dismantling the ship railings to get hold of metal bars. Hence what you see in the Israeli videos..but as far as Israelis not firing first, all lies. This was the account of Jamal elshayyal of aljazeera, last one to report before communication was cut (Israel remotely cut off all their communication with the outside world) and hr told this after finally arriving in turkey days later.. From witness testimonies it seems this was a clear shock and awe which they wanted to make sure none of these ppl or anyone else dared challenge israel again...

Ben June 2, 2010 9:33 pm (Pacific time)

Here's a beautiful tribute to Emily and other ISM activists:

Tim King: Ben, that is really important, thanks for sharing it, I urge everyone to take a moment and check out this tribute. 

lm June 2, 2010 7:28 pm (Pacific time)

i don't know enough about the israel-palestine issue to take any informed stance on it, but i know enough not to blame the victim. anyone who chastises this girl as a silly american who shouldn't be surprised that such a thing could happen to her should be ashamed of themselves. nonviolently standing up for what one believes in should never be answered with this kind of brutality. politics should not influence your response to what happened to this girl - only basic human empathy.

Editor: Thanks for your comment, we want to reach people who are on the fence and I urge you to use key words at the bottom of the article like Israel, Palestine and Gaza to learn a great deal more.  The bottom line is that Palestinians are greatly oppressed, and Israelis are being drug down a particular road by national ambition and politics, much like the US under Bush, though very different of course in that there is a religious tie, via Zionism.  This is the belief that 'The Chosen People" can eliminate people and enact unjust laws, 'apartheid' like South Africa's old system, in order to have land that "God gave to them".   Please remember as you learn more, that there are many great Jewish people in Israel who are working with those who oppose the violence.  It isn't about people being Jewish, it is about Zionism.  I just want to stress that, and remember that in the US there are far more Christians who support the system than anyone else, that is very problematic in the end.  Thanks!   

Adi June 2, 2010 11:38 am (Pacific time)

All of you who are quick to judge, try living in peace with an organization like Hamas who declares his mission in destroying your country. I wonder how would your country react if it would have been attacked for seven years with thousands of rockets. I bet they won't be so peaceful.

Kenny June 2, 2010 10:13 am (Pacific time)

I am Belgian. Israël act with unconditional support of the Belgian poltical and economical elite. Former Priminister Jean-Luc De Haene is chairman of Dexia bank, which invest in the occupied terratories. Just one example. The European elite supports these act completely, despite the rethoric.The E.U. might make crtitical statements but this is merely propaganda. The E.U. provides unconditional economical support for Israëls crimes.

marco June 2, 2010 9:30 am (Pacific time)

Jacob, these "accidents" happen far too often in peaceful demonstrations to merely be accidents. They are deliberate. I feel sorry for this brave woman, who has lost her left eye because of these thuggish trigger happy soldiers. But its hardly surprising, since many are from the settlements themselves.

shaun dawkins June 2, 2010 12:17 am (Pacific time)

Hamas controls palestine, and they are subhuman terrorists. How many videos does it take to show how 'peaceful' these naval 'activists' were before you stop blindly clinging to false ideas of peace and harmony. Israel is at war with Hamas. If Los Zetas were firing rockets into texas and suicide bombing our school buses, your ivory-tower opinions would be brought to dirt-level.

Editor: Hamas has control of a small portion of what remains of Palestine.  Most of their rockets are unguided and when they are fired there are an fewer casualties than when Israel lets loose.  It is sad that Hamas is so placed in a corner.  You can't compare the annihilation of Palestine to Mexican cartels firing rockets into the USA.  Besides, they aren't trying to kill off Americans this way, this is what Israel does.  What a non-applicable situation, geez.   

christopher June 2, 2010 12:16 am (Pacific time)

Wow what an unprofessional response by the 'editor'.
Funny how liberal art students think they can travel to the world's most dangerous places and protest the flavor-of-the-month cause without fear of injury or death.

Hamas controls palestine, and they are subhuman terrorists. How many videos does it take to show how 'peaceful' these naval 'activists' were before you stop blindly clinging to false ideas of peace and harmony. Israel is at war with Hamas. If Los Zetas were firing rockets into texas and suicide bombing our school buses, your ivory-tower opinions would be brought to dirt-level.

Editor: Oh well we get more than slightly emotional over this BS still taking place after all these years.   I apply your logic to the thuggish IDF who have been lost over the years; they were in a dangerous place so don't be surprised when bad things happen to them, in fact let's apply to the whole thing to Israel for that matter.  Everyone knew it was a dangerous place, therefore they never had a right to expect anything except shots to the face?  I think your version of a professional editor is one who worships Israel, and I am the dead opposite of that.  So don't expect us to have happy-go-lucky reactions when the Israeli stormtroopers shoot Americans in the face with teargas canisters.  It isn't personal, it would be the exact same reaction to any nation that operates illegally like Israel.   

meriem June 1, 2010 7:57 pm (Pacific time)

god bless you emily!

Anonymous June 1, 2010 6:04 pm (Pacific time)

Pipard where is their original country(s)?

Geoff Curl, (England) June 1, 2010 5:08 pm (Pacific time)

Maybe I should add that tear gas canisters are meant to be effectively be fired at the ground around protesters, to prevent injury, or to lessen the velocity, even if they ricochet. Never should they be fired at a person, as they will cause, possibly serious, injury. Emily...I can only send you my utter admiration, and my bitterest tears.

Darren Miller June 1, 2010 5:03 pm (Pacific time)

Natzi Israel is a monster of such ernormous magnitude; it harms the whole of humanity with such baldly vile murders and maimings that any decency that may have been left them has finally escaped. The Israelis must be defeated in their hatred of Palestinians and mankind. Let us as a world, see that those in charge during this crisis of immorality and injustice be heald accountable for their calous orders and intentions. Let everyone involved in this heinous crime against all humanity be punished according to their deeds in this matter. Israel is the enemy of the planet, a crushing of it must be meted out and Palestinians must be given their freedoms again. Natzi Germany was not much different for the Jews. Israel is to Palestine as Natzi is to Jew: this might be an SAT analogy that you may have not had on your test.

Jacob June 1, 2010 4:33 pm (Pacific time)

Wrong. The Israelis did not board and start shooting. If they did, there would not have been 9 soldiers wounded by the "peace activists" on the Marmara. Only after three of them were stabbed in the abdomen, three had their arms broken, one had his skull broken and two were shot, did the soldiers use their handguns.
What happened to Emily is very unfortunate. But accidents happen.

Editor: Jacob, they have no right to block aid for human beings who so desperately need it.   Israel is creating this situation with the blockade, and ducking war crime charges.  And if someone pointed a tear gas canister at your face and pulled the trigger, would you call it an accident?  You guys justify EVERY murder, every kidnapping, sexual assault of Palestinian women on the streets in the occupied areas.  Israeli soldiers always harm people with bullying superiority, provided by my own twisted and sick government.  Emily is a hero, the people on the Gaza Aid Flotilla are heroes, sadly you justify cruelty, inhumanity, and the military boarding of foreign vessels on the high seas.  Not heroic at all  Feel fortunate that none of your people died, only ours.  I do not feel fortunate.  Israel is an enemy of freedom and peace and humanity.    

halima June 1, 2010 4:31 pm (Pacific time)

Emily, our thoughts and prayers are with you!! you my hero!!

RAYYAN June 1, 2010 2:10 pm (Pacific time)

God bless you emily

Pipard June 1, 2010 1:50 pm (Pacific time)

Israelis are sadistic scum and their Nation is the number one Danger to World Peace. Israel needs to be dismantled and all of these Zionists sent back to their original countries.

Vince Pipard June 1, 2010 1:38 pm (Pacific time)

Israelis are, for the most part, sadistic jewish supremecists who really think they are better than the rest of humanity, even including the Americans who have made their nationhood a reality. Israelis have made it a national past-time to intentionally main Palestinian youth, trying to turn an entire generation of Arab youth into cripples. The intentional blinding of Emily by the Israelis is just another day in the life of the zionist frankenstein state of Israel. The World is slowly awakening to the fact that Zionism is the New Fascism and Israel is the new Nazi Germany.

Jane June 1, 2010 8:08 am (Pacific time)

Of course, Israel has some bogus explanation on why this was justified.

Vic June 1, 2010 6:41 am (Pacific time)

Where is Wyden? What does that Israel-Firster say about this? We have a rat in our of the top ten career recipients of AIPAC money, according to The Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs. Lets hear Wyden try to blame the victims in this matter. Tired of the Israeli monopoly on our govt? House cleaning starts at home.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.