Canadian photographer wounded in Bethlehem while documenting protests

| December 16, 2015
Photo: Rehab Nazzal

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University of Western Ontario (UWO) PhD student, Rehab Nazzal, was shot in the leg by Israeli occupation forces in Bethlehem last Friday. 

An artist and researcher, Nazzal has been documenting the disputes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli occupation forces since October. She was photographing and taking shelter from a military "Skunk" trunk -- a non-lethal weapon that sprays sewage-smelling chemicals at protestors when she was shot.

"I did not realize what had happened," said Nazzal in a statement. "The last image I photographed shows a sniper hiding on the ground near the entrance to one of the city’s hotels."

An ambulance rushed to Nazzal's aid but was attacked by teargas grenades, suffocating both her and the paramedics assisting her. The cloud of gas also prevented other photographers and journalists from documenting the situation.

"What shocked me," said Nazzal, "was the fact that I was alone, with no clashes, no stone throwers, absolutely no one around me, yet I was intentionally shot by a sniper. This was not an accident."

At the hospital, Nazzal's wound was identified as being from a .22 calibre bullet -- a type of ammunition that is prohibited from use against unarmed civilians. The bullet did not shatter any bones and Nazzal is recovering, getting the medical assistance she requires.

Nazzal is a Palestinian-born multidisciplinary artist. Her work has been shown both in Canada and internationally and it deals with representation of violence, war and colonialism. She holds a SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship with UWO's Visual Arts Department and is currently researching the sonic effects of unmanned robotic weapons and surveillance systems on civilians in West Bank.  Her research focuses primarily on the effect of Israeli weapons that target the human senses such as sound bombs, teargas and Skunk chemicals. 

Alyse Kotyk is a Vancouver-based writer and editor with a passion for social justice, storytelling and tea. She studied English Literature and Global Development at Queen's University and believes in the ability to make positive changes through media that digs deep, asks questions and shares narratives. Alyse was the Editor of Servants Quarters and has written for the Queen's News Centre, Quietly Media and the Vancouver Observer.


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