Nabi Saleh - Oren Ziv - February 2012
The woman receiving assistance at the Nabi Saleh protest. Photo by Oren Ziv

The Israel Defense Forces has admitted that injuries sustained by a French woman during a West Bank demonstration on Friday may have been caused by an army tear gas canister and not by rocks thrown by other protesters, as initially claimed.

The incident took place during the weekly demonstration by residents of Nabi Saleh against the expropriation of their land in favor of the nearby settlement of Halamish, and the settlers' takeover of a spring that served the Palestinian residents.

They have been held every Friday for the past two years, with the participation of Israeli and foreign activists. Most weeks they end with Palestinians throwing rocks and Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers firing tear gas canisters and rubber-tipped bullets.

After Friday's protest, Palestinian sources reported that a French woman was evacuated to a hospital after being hit with a canister. Jonathan Pollak, an activist with the village's Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, released a video that clearly supports the Palestinian claims.

The activist, who did not want her name made public for fear of being deported by Israel, was taken to hospital in Ramallah with heavy bleeding. Her injuries were not serious, however, and she is expected to be discharged soon.

The IDF Spokesman's Office initially claimed in a statement that the woman was wounded by rocks thrown by other protesters. But after Haaretz questioned this version, in light of the video, the IDF said: "New details that have come to light indicate that the French national may have been injured by a gas canister. The incident is under investigation."

In December, Nabi Saleh resident Mustafa Tamimi, 28, was killed in a similar incident during the weekly demonstration.