Details of the shooting were released to Aljazeera.net within hours of the incident on Friday evening, but the identities of the injured are being witheld until their families can be contacted.

The Australian and American men were both shot in the legs at the Balata refugee camp and were taken to Rafidia Hospital where they are now undergoing treatment.

According to the representatives from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the two were shot after escorting Palestinian children away from Israeli soldiers who entered the camp.

ISM officials said two Palestinian boys were hit by rubber bullets, but the American and Australian volunteers were shot with live bullets and remain in hospital.
 
Israeli army officials told Aljazeera.net that live rounds were also used to fire on Palestinian youths. Army officials said they were unaware of the shootings of the peace activists.

ISM officials told Aljazeera.net that Israeli soldiers fired indiscriminately inside the camp before cutting the electricity.

Rachel Corrie, 23, was crushed to
death by the above bulldozer

“They (Israeli soldiers) were shooting in complete darkness,” said Aron Baker.

Unarmed civilians

“There was no Palestinian gunfire; we were all clearly unarmed civilians; why were the soldiers shooting?” asked another ISM volunteer.

But the incident has again highlighted the risks international peace activists take in their effort to shed light on the plight of the Palestinian people.

In March 2003, 23-year-old American ISM peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death while trying to prevent an Israeli bulldozer from bulldozing a Palestinian home in the town of Rafah.

Five ISM peace activists were shot and wounded in July when Israeli soldiers fired on the demonstrators protesting against the construction of Israel’s apartheid wall.

And in September, two European ISM activists were jailed by Israeli authorities for trying to prevent the destruction of another Palestinian home. The pair were held imprisoned for 10 days before being deported.