Category: Archive

Irish peace activist says Israeli soldier shot her

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

An Israeli soldier killed the British-born official, Ian Hook, and Dublin-born Caoimhe Butterly has confirmed that an Israeli soldier shot her in the thigh as well.
Butterly is in stable condition in a hospital in Israel, where she was scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Butterly, who’s 24 and has been in Israel and the West Bank since an upsurge in Middle East violence in March, told reporters that the bullet had torn her thigh muscle.
In an interview with a colleague from the Independent Media Center in Ireland, Butterly, who is sympathetic to the Palestinians, described her situation graphically.
“The Israeli occupation forces are saying that they were looking for one wanted man in particular, but they closed off the bottom area of the camp — it’s a closed military zone.”
“There were house-to-house searches going on and around 20 men were rounded up in those searches and were beaten very severely, handcuffed and blindfolded.
“I received a call from the family of one of them in that zone where nobody was allowed out on to the streets, saying that a young girl needed medical attention, that she was very sick and they were asking if we could try and bring an ambulance in, because the Israelis had refused to co-ordinate with them.”
Butterly went to help and was arrested with a Reuter’s cameraman.
She said that she then saw Israeli troops firing live rounds at children, and that a 9-year old was killed.
“I started engaging in some negotiation with a soldier and then another tank drove up, the guy looked out of his hatch and he opened fire on a crowd of kids,” Butterly said.
“Most of them managed to run away, but there were around three small ones left on the road, so I was trying to basically carry them into an alleyway and then I got shot myself.”
It was alleged at the time by observers that Ian Hook was carrying a cell phone and that soldiers may have mistaken it for a gun.
Israeli Defense Force spokespersons later said that Hook had unfortunately been caught in crossfire between soldiers and Palestinian gunmen. Observers sympathetic to the Palestinian cause said that an Israeli soldier had directly targeted him.
Hook was head of a multimillion-dollar relief program to rebuild the Jenin camp largely destroyed during an Israeli military operation in March and April.
At press time sources said that Butterly has insisted that she will stay in the West Bank after she recovers.
A veteran of peace activism on the West bank, she was at one point trapped inside Yassar Arafat’s Ramallah compound.
She has been beaten in the past by soldiers at checkpoints and has served as an ambulance assistant.
Caoimhe Butterly is the oldest of four children. Her father is a UN economist working in Geneva and her mother is a family therapist living in Cork.
She has said in past interviews that her inspiration for devoting her life to the kind of relief activism that she does was started by her discovery of the Catholic Worker movement founded by Dorothy Day during the U.S. Depression of the 1930s.
She has worked with the homeless, disabled and AIDS victims in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Zimbabwe. The day she was shot, Nov. 22, is believed to be her birthday.

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