Israel using deadly force on unarmed protesters, watchdog says
Noah Browning, Reuters, Jan 28 2013
Israel is breaking its own rules of engagement by using deadly force on demonstrators in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported on Monday. Israeli forces have killed 56 people since 2005, said B’Tselem. 6 were killed by rubber-coated metal bullets and 2 by teargas canisters, both supposedly non-lethal weapons which were fired directly at protesters, and the remaining 48 were hit by live ammunition, according to the group, which accused the military of having “extensively and systematically violated its own rules barring the use of deadly force.” In the past two weeks, Israeli forces have shot dead two Palestinians. B’Tselem said:
The Israeli military’s standing orders explicitly state that live ammunition may not be fired at stone-throwers. In practice, members of the security forces make almost routine use of these weapons in unlawful, dangerous ways, and the relevant Israeli authorities do too little to prevent the recurrence of this conduct.
The IDF said in a written response sent to Reuters:
B’Tselem presents a biased narrative, relying primarily on incidents that are either old or still under investigation by the Military Police. The IDF does everything in its power to ensure that the use of riot dispersal means is done in accordance with the rules of engagement.
And here is a link to the full report and a summary thereof:
Crowd Control Weapons
B’Tselem, Jan 28 2013
A new B’Tselem report reveals the full inventory of crowd control weapons used by Israeli security forces in the West Bank. These weapons are meant to be non-lethal, enabling authorities to enforce the law without endangering human life. In fact, however, some of these weapons are dangerous and may be lethal if used improperly. Crowd control weapons have killed and injured demonstrators and people throwing stones. B’Tselem calls upon the Israeli security forces to prohibit the firing of live ammunition at demonstrators and stone-throwers, with the exception of instances of mortal danger; to restrict the use of rubber-coated metal bullets to instances of mortal danger, as a preliminary measure to firing live ammunition; and to ban completely the firing of tear-gas grenades directly at individuals. This report has found that there are two main problems with the use of crowd control weapons in the West Bank. First, the wording of the open-fire and safety regulations is ambiguous, and in some cases the regulations cannot be properly followed. Second, when security forces in the field violate the regulations, even systematically, practically no action is taken to put an end to this wrongful conduct. Senior-ranking officers deny that violations of the open-fire regulations are the norm and classify injury to civilians from improper use of crowd control weapons as “exceptions to the rule.” Furthermore, even in the rare instances in which investigations into such incidents are conducted, most are closed without the perpetrators or their superiors being held accountable. More info: